And now the war between the Athenians and Peloponnesians and the allies of both actually began. Henceforward the struggle was uninterrupted, and they communicated with one another only by heralds. The narrative is arranged according to summers and winters and follows the order of events.
For fourteen years the thirty years' peace which was concluded after the recovery of Euboea remained unbroken. But in the fifteenth year, when Chrysis the high-priestess of Argos was in the forty-eighth year of her priesthood, Aenesias being Ephor at Sparta, and at Athens Pythodorus having two months of his archonship to run,1 in the sixth month after the engagement at Potidaea and at the beginning of spring, about the first watch of the night an armed force of somewhat more than three hundred Thebans entered Plataea, a city of Boeotia, which was an ally of Athens, under the command of two Boeotarchs, Pythangelus the son of Phyleides, and Diemporus the son of Onetorides. They were invited by Naucleides, a Plataean, and his partisans, who opened the gates to them. These men wanted to kill certain citizens of the opposite faction and to make over the city to the Thebans, in the hope of getting the power into their own hands. The intrigue had been conducted by Eurymachus the son of Leontiades, one of the chief citizens of Thebes. There was an old quarrel between the two cities, and the Thebans, seeing that war was inevitable, were anxious to surprise the place while the peace lasted and before hostilities had actually broken out. No watch had been set; and so they were enabled to enter the city unperceived. They grounded their arms in the Agora, but instead of going to work at once and making their way into the houses of their enemies, as those who invited them suggested, they resolved to issue a conciliatory proclamation and try to make friends with the citizens. The herald announced that if any one wished to become their ally and return to the ancient constitution of Boeotia, he should join their ranks. In this way they thought that the inhabitants would easily be induced to come over to them.
The Plataeans, when they found that the city had been surprised and taken and that the Thebans were within their walls, were panic-stricken. In the darkness they were unable to see them and greatly over-estimated their numbers. So they came to terms, and accepting the proposals which were made to them, remained quiet, the more readily since the Thebans offered violence to no one. But in the course of the negotiations they somehow discovered that their enemies were not so numerous as they had supposed, and concluded that they could easily attack and master them. They determined to make the attempt, for the commons at Plataea were strongly attached to the Athenian alliance. They began to collect inside the houses, breaking through the party-walls that they might not be seen going along the streets; they likewise raised barricades of waggons (without the beasts which drew them), and took other measures suitable to the emergency. When they had done all which could be done under the circumstances, they sallied forth from their houses, choosing the time of night just before daybreak, lest, if they put off the attack until dawn, the enemy might be more confident and more a match for them. While darkness lasted they would be timid, and at a disadvantage, not knowing the streets so well as themselves. So they fell upon them at once hand to hand.
When the Thebans found that they had been deceived they closed their ranks and resisted their assailants on every side. Two or three times they drove them back. But when at last the Plataeans charged them, and the women and slaves on the housetops screamed and yelled and pelted them with stones and tiles, the confusion, which was aggravated by the rain which had been falling heavily during the night, became too much for them, and they turned and fled in terror through the city. Hardly any of them knew the way out, and the streets were dark as well as muddy, for the affair happened at the end of the month when there was no moon; whereas their pursuers knew well enough how to prevent their escape; and thus many of them perished. The gates by which they entered were the only ones open, and these a Plataean fastened with the spike of a javelin, which he thrust into the bar instead of the pin. So this exit too was closed and they were chased up and down the city. Some of them mounted upon the wall and cast themselves down into the open. Most of these were killed. Others got out by a deserted gate, cutting through the bar unperceived with an axe which a woman gave them; but only a few, for they were soon found out. Others lost themselves in different parts of the city, and were put to death. But the greater number kept together and took refuge in a large building abutting upon the wall, of which the doors on the near side chanced to be open, they thinking them to be the gates of the city, and expecting to find a way through them into the country. The Plataeans, seeing that they were in a trap, began to consider whether they should not set the building on fire, and burn them where they were. At last they and the other Thebans who were still alive, and were wandering about the city, agreed to surrender themselves and their arms unconditionally. Thus fared the Thebans in Plataea.
The main body of the Theban army, which should have come during the night to the support of the party entering the city in case of a reverse, having on their march heard of the disaster, were now hastening to the rescue. Plataea is about eight miles distant from Thebes, and the heavy rain which had fallen in the night delayed their arrival; for the river Asopus had swollen, and was not easily fordable. Marching in the rain, and with difficulty crossing the river, they came up too late, some of their friends being already slain and others captives. When the Thebans became aware of the state of affairs, they resolved to lay hands on what was outside the walls; for there were men and property left in the fields, as would naturally happen when a sudden blow was struck in time of peace. They meant to keep any one whom they caught as a hostage and exchange him for one of their own men, if any of them were still alive. But before they had executed their plan, the Plataeans, suspecting their intentions, and fearing for their friends outside, sent a herald to the Thebans protesting against the crime of which they had been guilty in trying to seize their city during peace, and warning them not to touch anything which was outside the walls. If they persisted they threatened in return to kill the prisoners; but if they retired, they would give them up. This is the Theban account, and they add that the Plataeans took an oath. The Plataeans do not admit that they ever promised to restore the captives at once, but only if they could agree after negotiations; and they deny that they took an oath. However this may have been, the Thebans withdrew, leaving the Plataean territory unhurt; but the Plataeans had no sooner got in their property from the country than they put the prisoners to death. Those who were taken were a hundred and eighty in number, and Eurymachus, with whom the betrayers of the city had negotiated, was one of them.
When they had killed their prisoners, they sent a messenger to Athens and gave back the dead to the Thebans under a flag of truce; they then took the necessary measures for the security of the city. The news had already reached Athens, and the Athenians had instantly seized any Boeotians who were in Attica, and sent a herald to Plataea bidding them do no violence to the Theban prisoners, but wait for instructions from Athens. The news of their death had not arrived. For the first messenger had gone out when the Thebans entered, and the second when they were just defeated and captured; but of what followed the Athenians knew nothing; they sent the message in ignorance, and the herald, when he arrived, found the prisoners dead. The Athenians next despatched an army to Plataea, and brought in supplies. Then leaving a small force in the place they conveyed away the least serviceable of the citizens, together with the women and children.
The affair of Plataea was a glaring violation of the thirty years' truce, and the Athenians now made preparations for war. The Lacedaemonians and their allies made similar preparations. Both they and the Athenians meditated sending embassies to the King,2 and to the other Barbarian potentates3 from whom either party might hope to obtain aid; they likewise sought the alliance of independent cities outside their own dominion. The Lacedaemonians ordered their friends in Italy and Sicily to build others in number proportioned to the size of their cities, in addition to the ships which they had on the spot; for they intended to raise the Peloponnesian navy to a total of five hundred. The cities were also required to furnish a fixed sum of money; they were not to receive more than one ship of the Athenians at a time, but were to take no further measures until these preparations had been completed. The Athenians reviewed their confederacy, and sent ambassadors to the places immediately adjacent to Peloponnesus--Corcyra, Cephallenia, Acarnania, and Zacynthus. They perceived that if they could only rely upon the friendship of these states,4 they might completely encircle Peloponnesus with war.
On neither side were there any mean thoughts; they were both full of enthusiasm: and no wonder, for all men are energetic when they are making a beginning. At that time the youth of Peloponnesus and the youth of Athens were numerous; they had never seen war, and were therefore very willing to take up arms. All Hellas was excited by the coming conflict between her two chief cities. Many were the prophecies circulated and many the oracles chanted by diviners, not only in the cities about to engage in the struggle, but throughout Hellas. Quite recently the island of Delos had been shaken by an earthquake for the first time within the memory of the Hellenes; this was interpreted and generally believed to be a sign of coming events. And everything of the sort which occurred was curiously noted.
The feeling of mankind was strongly on the side of the Lacedaemonians; for they professed to be the liberators of Hellas. Cities and individuals were eager to assist them to the utmost, both by word and deed; and where a man could not hope to be present, there it seemed to him that all things were at a stand. For the general indignation against the Athenians was intense; some were longing to be delivered from them, others fearful of falling under their sway.
Such was the temper which animated the Hellenes, and such were the preparations made by the two powers for the war. Their respective allies were as follows:--The Lacedaemonian confederacy included all the Peloponnesians with the exception of the Argives and the Achaeans--they were both neutral; only the Achaeans of Pellene took part with the Lacedaemonians at first; afterwards all the Achaeans joined them.5 Beyond the borders of the Peloponnese, the Megarians, Phocians, Locrians, Boeotians, Ambraciots, Leucadians, and Anactorians were their allies. Of these the Corinthians, Megarians, Sicyonians, Pellenians, Eleans, Ambraciots, and Leucadians provided a navy, the Boeotians, Phocians, and Locrians furnished cavalry, the other states only infantry. The allies of the Athenians were Chios, Lesbos, Plataea, the Messenians of Naupactus, the greater part of Acarnania, Corcyra, Zacynthus, and cities in many other countries which were their tributaries. There was the maritime region of Caria, the adjacent Dorian peoples, Ionia, the Hellespont, the Thracian coast, the islands that lie to the east within the line of Peloponnesus and Crete, including all the Cyclades with the exception of Melos and Thera. Chios, Lesbos, and Corcyra furnished a navy; the rest, land forces and money. Thus much concerning the two confederacies, and the character of their respective forces.
Immediately after the affair at Plataea the Lacedaemonians sent round word to their Peloponnesian and other allies, bidding them equip troops and provide all things necessary for a foreign expedition, with the object of invading Attica. The various states made their preparations as fast as they could, and at the appointed time, with contingents numbering two-thirds of the forces of each, met at the Isthmus. When the whole army was assembled, Archidamus, the king of the Lacedaemonians, and the leader of the expedition, called together the generals of the different states and their chief officers and most distinguished men, and spoke as follows:
'Men of Peloponnesus, and you, allies, many are the expeditions which our fathers made both within and without the Peloponnese, and the veterans among ourselves are experienced in war; and yet we never went forth with a greater army than this. But then we should remember that, whatever may be our numbers or our valour, we are going against a most powerful city. And we are bound to show ourselves worthy of our fathers, and not wanting to our own reputation. For all Hellas is stirred by our enterprise, and her eyes are fixed upon us: she is friendly and would have us succeed because she hates the Athenians. Now although some among you, surveying this great host, may think that there is very little risk of the enemy meeting us in the field, we ought not on that account to advance heedlessly; but the general and the soldier of every state should be always expecting that his own division of the army will be the one first in danger. War is carried on in the dark; attacks are generally sudden and furious, and often the smaller army, animated by a proper fear, has been more than a match for a larger force which, disdaining their opponent, were taken unprepared by him. When invading an enemy's country, men should always be confident in spirit, but they should fear too, and take measures of precaution; and thus they will be at once most valorous in attack and impregnable in defence.
'And the city which we are attacking is not so utterly powerless against an invader, but is in the best possible state of preparation, and for this reason our enemies may be quite expected to meet us in the field. Even if they have no such intention beforehand, yet as soon as they see us in Attica, wasting and destroying their property, they will certainly change their mind. For all men are angry when they not only suffer but see, and some strange form of calamity strikes full upon the eye; the less they reflect the more ready they are to fight; above all men the Athenians, who claim imperial power, and are more disposed to invade and waste their neighbour's land than to look on while their own is being wasted. Remembering how great this city is which you are attacking, and what a fame you will bring on your ancestors and yourselves for good or evil according to the result, follow whithersoever you are led; maintain discipline and caution above all things, and be on the alert to obey the word of command. It is both the noblest and the safest thing for a great army to be visibly animated by one spirit.'
Having thus spoken, Archidamus dismissed the assembly. His first step was to send Melesippus, the son of Diaeritus, a Spartan, to Athens in the hope that the Athenians might after all give way, when they saw their enemies actually on the march. But they would not admit him to the assembly, nor even into the city. For Pericles had already carried a motion to the effect that they would have nothing to do with herald or embassy while the Lacedaemonians were in the field. So Melesippus was sent away without a hearing and told that he must cross the frontier before sunset; if the Lacedaemonians wanted to hold any parley with the Athenians, they must go home first. He was attended by an escort in order to prevent his communicating with any one. When he arrived at the Athenian frontier, and was about to leave them, he uttered these words: 'This day will be to the Hellenes the beginning of great sorrows.' On the return of the herald to the camp Archidamus learned that the Athenians were not as yet at all in the mood to yield; so at last he moved forward his army and prepared to enter Attica. The Boeotians who had sent their contingent of two-thirds, including their cavalry, to the Peloponnesian army, marched to Plataea with the remainder of their forces and wasted the country.
While the Peloponnesians were gathering at the Isthmus, and were still on their way, but before they entered Attica, Pericles the son of Xanthippus, who was one of the ten Athenian generals, knowing that the invasion was inevitable, and suspecting that Archidamus in wasting the country might very likely spare his lands, either out of courtesy and because he happened to be his friend, or by the order of the Lacedaemonian authorities (who had already attempted to raise a prejudice against him6 when they demanded the expulsion of the polluted family, and might take this further means of injuring him in the eyes of the Athenians), openly declared in the assembly that Archidamus was his friend; but was not so to the injury of the state, and that supposing the enemy did not destroy his lands and buildings like the rest, he would make a present of them to the public; and he desired that the Athenians would have no suspicion of him on that account. As to the general situation, he repeated his previous advice; they must prepare for war and bring their property from the country into the city; they must defend their walls but not go out to battle; they should also equip for service the fleet in which lay their strength. Their allies should be kept well in hand, for their power depended on the revenues which they derived from them; military successes were generally gained by a wise policy and command of money. The state of their finances was encouraging; they had on an average six hundred talents7 of tribute coming in annually from their allies, to say nothing of their other revenue; and there were still remaining in the Acropolis six thousand talents of coined silver. (The whole amount had once been as much as nine thousand seven hundred talents,8 but from this had to be deducted a sum of three thousand seven hundred expended on various buildings, such as the Propylaea of the Acropolis, and also on the siege of Potidaea.) Moreover there was uncoined gold and silver in the form of private and public offerings, sacred vessels used in processions and games, the Persian spoil and other things of the like nature, worth at least five hundred talents9 more. There were also at their disposal, besides what they had in the Acropolis, considerable treasures in various temples. If they were reduced to the last extremity they could even take off the plates of gold with which the image of the goddess was overlaid; these, as he pointed out, weighed forty talents, and were of refined gold, which was all removeable. They might use this treasure in self-defence, but they were bound to replace all that they had taken. By this estimate of their wealth he strove to encourage them. He added that they had thirteen thousand hoplites, besides the sixteen thousand who occupied the fortresses or who manned the walls of the city. For this was the number engaged on garrison duty at the beginning of the war,10 whenever the enemy invaded Attica; they were made up of the elder and younger men, and of such metics as bore heavy arms. The Phaleric wall extended four miles from Phalerum to the city walls: the portion of the city wall which was guarded was somewhat less than five miles; that between the Long Wall and the Phaleric requiring no guard. The Long Walls running down to the Piraeus were rather more than four and a half miles in length; the outer only was guarded. The whole circuit of the Piraeus and of Munychia was not quite seven miles, of which half required a guard. The Athenian cavalry, so Pericles pointed out, numbered twelve hundred, including mounted archers; the foot-archers, sixteen hundred; of triremes fit for service the city had three hundred.--The forces of various kinds which Athens possessed at the commencement of the war, when the first Peloponnesian invasion was impending, cannot be estimated at less.--To these Pericles added other arguments, such as he was fond of using, which were intended to prove to the Athenians that victory was certain.
The citizens were persuaded, and brought into the city their children and wives, their household goods, and even the wood-work of their houses, which they took down. Their flocks and beasts of burden they conveyed to Euboea and the adjacent islands.
The removal of the inhabitants was painful; for the Athenians had always been accustomed to reside in the country. Such a life had been characteristic of them, more than of any other Hellenic people, from very early times. In the days of Cecrops and the first kings, down to the reign of' Theseus, Attica was divided into communes, having their own town halls and magistrates. Except in case of alarm the whole people did not assemble in council under the king, but administered their own affairs, and advised together in their several townships. Some of them at times even went to war with him, as the Eleusinians under Eumolpus with Erectheus. But when Theseus came to the throne, he, being a powerful as well as a wise ruler, among other improvements in the administration of the country, dissolved the councils and separate governments, and united all the inhabitants of Attica in the present city, establishing one council and town hall. They continued to live on their own lands, but he compelled them to resort to Athens as their metropolis, and henceforward they were all inscribed in the roll of her citizens.11 A great city thus arose which was handed down by Theseus to his descendants, and from his day to this the Athenians have regularly celebrated the national festival of the Synoecia, or 'union of the communes' in honour of the Goddess Athene.
Before his time, what is now the Acropolis and the ground lying under it to the south was the city. Many reasons may be urged in proof of this statement: The temples of Athenè and of other divinities are situated in the Acropolis itself, and those which are not lie chiefly thereabouts; the temples of Olympian Zeus, for example, and of the Pythian Apollo, and the temple of Earth and of Dionysus in the Marshes, in honour of whom the more ancient Dionysia are celebrated on the twelfth day of the month Anthesterion,12 a festival which also continues to be observed by the Ionian descendants of the Athenians. In the same quarter are other ancient temples, and not far off is the fountain now called Enneacrounos, or the Nine Conduits, from the form given to it by the tyrants, but originally, before the springs were covered in, Callirrhoè, or the Fair Stream. The water of this fountain was used by the ancient Athenians on great occasions, it being near the original city; and at marriage rites and other ceremonies the custom is still retained. To this day the Acropolis or Citadel is called by the Athenians Polis, or City, because that neighbourhood was first inhabited.
Thus for a long time the ancient Athenians enjoyed a country life in self-governing communities; and although they were now united in a single city, they and their descendants, down to the time of this war, from old habit generally resided with their households in the country where they had been born. For this reason, and also because they had recently restored their country-houses and estates after the Persian War, they had a disinclination to move. They were depressed at the thought of forsaking their homes and the temples which had come down to them from their fathers and were the abiding memorials of their early constitution. They were going to change their manner of life, and in leaving their villages were in fact each of them going into exile.
When they came to Athens, only a few of them had houses or could find homes among friends or kindred. The majority took up their abode in the vacant spaces of the city, and in the temples and shrines of heroes, with the exception of those on the Acropolis, the Eleusinium, and any other precinct which could be securely closed. The Pelasgian ground, as it was called, which lay at the foot of the citadel, was under a curse forbidding its occupation. There was also a half-line of a Pythian oracle to the same effect:
'Better the Pelasgian ground left waste.'
Yet even this was filled under the sudden pressure of necessity. And to my mind the oracle came true in a sense exactly contrary to the popular expectation; for the unlawful occupation to which men were driven was not the cause of the calamities which befell the city, but the war was the cause of the occupation; and the oracle without mentioning the war foresaw that the place would be inhabited some day for no good. Many also established themselves in the turrets of the walls, or in any other place which they could find; for the city could not contain them when they first came in. But afterwards they divided among them the Long Walls and the greater part of the Piraeus. At the same time the Athenians applied themselves vigorously to the war, summoning their allies, and preparing an expedition of a hundred ships against the Peloponnese.
While they were thus engaged, the Peloponnesian army was advancing: it arrived first of all at Oenoè, a fortress on the confines of Attica and Boeotia, which was garrisoned by the Athenians whenever war broke out, and was the point at which the Peloponnesians intended to enter the enemy's country. There they encamped and prepared to assault the walls by means of engines and siege works. But these and other measures took up time and detained them in the neighbourhood. Archidamus was severely blamed for the delay; he was also thought not to have been energetic enough in levying war, and to have done the Athenians good service by discouraging vigorous action. After the muster of the forces he had been accused of delay at the isthmus, and of loitering on the march. But his reputation was most affected by his halt at Oenoè. For the Athenians employed the interval in getting away their property; and the Peloponnesians fancied that, if they had advanced quickly and he had not lingered, they could have seized everything before it was conveyed within the walls. Such were the feelings entertained towards Archidamus by his troops during the halt. He is said to have held back in the belief that the Athenians, while their lands were still unravaged,13 would yield, and that the thought of allowing them to be devastated would be too much for them.
But when they had assaulted Oenoè, and after leaving no means untried were unable to take it, and no herald came from the Athenians, at last they marched on, and about the eightieth day after the entry of the Thebans into Plataea, in the middle of the summer,14 when the corn was in full ear, invaded Attica, under the command of Archidamus the son of Zeuxidamus the Lacedaemonian king. They encamped and ravaged, first of all, Eleusis and the plain of Thria, where they put to flight some Athenian horse near the streams called Rheiti; they then advanced, keeping Mount Aegaleos on the right hand, through the district of Kropeia until they reached Acharnae, which is the largest of the Athenian townships or demes, as they are called; and at Acharnae they encamped, and remained there a considerable time ravaging the country.
In this first invasion Archidamus is said to have lingered about Acharnae with his army ready for battle, instead of descending into the plain,15 in the hope that the Athenians, who were now flourishing in youth and numbers and provided for war as they had never been before, would perhaps meet them in the field rather than allow their lands to be ravaged. When therefore they did not appear at Eleusis or in the plain of Thria, he tried once more whether by encamping in the neighbourhood of Acharnae he could induce them to come out. The situation appeared to be convenient, and the Acharnians, being a considerable section of the city and furnishing three thousand hoplites, were likely to be impatient at the destruction of their property, and would communicate to the whole people a desire to fight. Or if the Athenians did not come out to meet him during this invasion, he could henceforward ravage the plain with more confidence, and march right up to the walls of the city. The Acharnians, having lost their own possessions, would be less willing to hazard their lives on behalf of their neighbours, and so there would be a division in the Athenian counsels. Such was the motive of Archidamus in remaining at Acharnae.
The Athenians, so long as the Lacedaemonians were in the neighbourhood of Eleusis and the plain of Thria, entertained a hope that they would come no further. They remembered how, fourteen years before,16 the Lacedaemonian king, Pleistoanax the son of Pausanias, invaded Attica with a Peloponnesian army, and how after advancing as far as Eleusis and Thria he came no further, but retreated. And indeed this retreat was the cause of his exile; for he was thought to have been bribed. But when they saw the army in the neighbourhood of Acharnae, and barely seven miles from the city, they felt the presence of the invader to be intolerable. The devastation of their country before their eyes, which the younger men had never seen at all, nor the elder except in the Persian invasion, naturally appeared to them a horrible thing, and the whole people, the young men especially, were anxious to go forth and put a stop to it. Knots were formed in the streets, and there were loud disputes, some eager to go out, a minority resisting. Soothsayers were repeating oracles of the most different kinds, which all found in some one or other enthusiastic listeners. The Acharnians, who in their own estimation were no small part of the Athenian state, seeing their land ravaged, strongly insisted that they should go out and fight. The excitement in the city was universal; the people were furious with Pericles, and, forgetting all his previous warnings, they abused him for not leading them to battle, as their general should, and laid all their miseries to his charge.
But he, seeing that they were overcome by the irritation of the moment and inclined to evil counsels, and confident that he was right in refusing to go out, would not summon an assembly or meeting of any kind, lest, coming together more in anger than in prudence, they might take some false step. He maintained a strict watch over the city, and sought to calm the irritation as far as he could. Meanwhile he sent out horsemen from time to time to prevent flying parties finding their way into the fields near the city and doing mischief. A skirmish took place at Phrygia between one of the divisions of the Athenian horse assisted by their Thessalian allies on the one hand, and the Boeotian cavalry on the other, in which the Athenians and Thessalians were at least a match for their opponents, until, the Boeotian infantry coming up to support the horse, they were compelled to fly. The Athenians and Thessalians lost a few men, but recovered their bodies on the same day without asking for a truce. On the morrow the Peloponnesians raised a trophy. The forces which the Thessalians brought to the aid of the Athenians, according to the terms of their old alliance,17 consisted of Larissaeans, Pharsalians, Cranonians, Pyrasians, Gyrtonians, and Pheraeans. The leaders of the Larissaeans were Polymedes and Aristonous, one from each of the two leading factions of their city; the Pharsalians were commanded by Meno. The forces of the other cities had likewise generals of their own.
When the Peloponnesians found that the Athenians did not come out to meet them, they moved their army from Acharnae, and ravaged some of the townships which lie between Mount Parnes and Mount Brilessus. While they were still in the country, the Athenians sent the fleet of a hundred ships which they had been equipping on an expedition round the Peloponnese. These ships carried on board a thousand hoplites and four hundred archers; they were under the command of Carcinus the son of Xenotimus, Proteas the son of Epicles, and Socrates the son of Antigenes. After the departure of the fleet the Peloponnesians remained in Attica as long as their provisions lasted, and then, taking a new route, retired through Boeotia. In passing by Oropus they wasted the country called Peiraïkè,18 inhabited by the Oropians, who are subjects of the Athenians. On their return to Peloponnesus the troops dispersed to their several cities.
When they had retreated, the Athenians posted guards to keep watch both by land and sea, a precaution which they maintained throughout the war. They then passed a decree reserving of the treasure in the Acropolis a thousand talents:19 this sum was set apart and was not to be expended unless the enemy attacked the city with a fleet and they had to defend it. In any other case, he who brought forward or put to the vote a proposal to touch the money was to be punished with death. They also resolved to set apart yearly a hundred triremes, the finest of the year, and to appoint trierarchs for them; these they were only to use at the same time with the money, and in the same emergency.
The Athenian forces, which had lately been dispatched to Peloponnesus in the hundred vessels, and were assisted by the Corcyraeans with fifty ships and by some of the allies from the same region, did considerable damage on the Peloponnesian coast. They also disembarked and attacked Methonè, a fortress in Laconia, which was weak and had no regular garrison. Now Brasidas the son of Tellis, a Spartan, happened to be in those parts in command of a force, and, seeing the danger, he came to the aid of the inhabitants with a hundred hoplites. He dashed through the scattered parties of Athenian troops, whose attention was occupied with the fortress, and threw himself into Methonè, suffering a slight loss; he thus saved the place. The exploit was publicly acknowledged at Sparta, Brasidas being the first Spartan who obtained this distinction in the war. The Athenians, proceeding on their voyage, ravaged the territory of Pheia in Elis for two days, and defeated three hundred chosen men from the vale of Elis, as well as some Elean perioeci from the neighbourhood of Pheia who came to the rescue. But a violent storm arose, and there was no harbour in which the fleet could find shelter; so the greater part of the army re-embarked and sailed round the promontory called Ichthys towards the harbour of Pheia. Meanwhile the Messenians and others who were unable to get on board marched by land and captured Pheia. The fleet soon sailed into the harbour and took them up; they then evacuated Pheia and put to sea. By this time the main army of the Eleans had arrived; whereupon the Athenians proceeded on their way to other places, which they ravaged.
About the same time the Athenians sent thirty ships to cruise off Locris, having an eye also to the safety of Euboea. Cleopompus the son of Cleinias was their commander. He made descents on the Locrian coast and ravaged various places. He also captured Thronium, taking hostages of the inhabitants, and at Alopè defeated the Locrians who came to defend the place.
In the same summer the Athenians expelled the Aeginetans and their families from Aegina, alleging that they had been the main cause of the war. The island lies close to Peloponnesus, and they thought it safer to send thither settlers of their own, an intention which they shortly afterwards carried out. The Lacedaemonians gave the Aeginetan exiles the town of Thyrea to occupy and the adjoining country to cultivate, partly in order to annoy the Athenians, partly out of gratitude to the Aeginetans, who had done them good service at the time of the earthquake and the revolt of the Helots. The Thyrean territory is a strip of land coming down to the sea on the borders of Argolis and Laconia. There some of them found a home; others dispersed over Hellas.
During the same summer, at the beginning of the lunar month (apparently the only time when such an event is possible), and in the afternoon, there was an eclipse of the sun, which took the form of a crescent, and then became full again; during the eclipse a few stars were visible.
In the same summer, Nymphodorus the son of Pythes, a native of Abdera and a man of great influence with Sitalces who had married his sister, was made by the Athenians their proxenus at that place and invited by them to Athens. He had formerly been considered their enemy, but now they hoped that he would gain over to their alliance Sitalces, who was the son of Teres and king of Thrace.
This Teres, the father of Sitalces, was the first founder of the great Odrysian empire, which he extended over a large part of Thrace, although many of the Thracian tribes are still independent. He has no connexion with Tereus who took to wife from Athens Procnè, the daughter of Pandion; they do not even belong to the same Thrace. For Tereus dwelt in Daulia, a part of the region which is now called Phocis but in those days was inhabited by Thracians, and in that country Itys suffered at the hands of the women Procnè and Philomela. Many of the poets when they make mention of the nightingale (Philomela) apply to the bird the epithet Daulian. Further, Pandion would surely have formed a marriage connexion for his daughter among his neighbours with a view to mutual protection, and not at a distance of so many days' journey, among the Odrysian Thracians. And the Teres of whom I am speaking, and who was the first powerful king of the Odrysae, has not even the same name.20
Now Sitalces, whom the Athenians made their ally, was the son of this Teres; they wanted him to assist them in the conquest of Chalcidicè and of Perdiccas. So Nymphodorus came to Athens, negotiated the alliance with Sitalces, and got his son Sadocus enrolled an Athenian citizen. He also undertook to terminate the war in Chalcidicè, promising that he would persuade Sitalces to send the Athenians an army of Thracian horsemen and targeteers. He further reconciled Perdiccas with the Athenians, and persuaded them to restore Thermè to him.21 Whereupon Perdiccas joined the Athenian army under Phormio,22 and with him fought against the Chalcidians. Thus Sitalces the son of Teres king of Thrace, and Perdiccas son of Alexander king of Macedonia, entered into the Athenian alliance.
The Athenians, in the hundred ships which were still cruising about Peloponnesus, took Sollium, a town belonging to the Corinthians, which they handed over to the Palaereans of Acarnania, giving to them alone of the Acarnanians the right of occupying the city and country. They also stormed the town of Astacus, and driving out Evarchus who was tyrant there, added it to the Athenian confederacy. They next sailed to the island of Cephallenia, which they gained over without fighting. The island lies over against Acarnania and Leucas, and contains four cities inhabited by the Paleans, Cranians, Samaeans, and Pronnaeans. Soon afterwards the fleet proceeded on its voyage homewards.
About the end of the summer the entire Athenian force, including the metics, invaded the territory of Megara, under the command of Pericles the son of Xanthippus. The Athenian fleet had reached Aegina on its way home, and when the commanders heard that the whole armed force of the city was in Megara, they sailed thither and joined them. This was the largest army which the Athenians ever had in one place; for the city was still in her full strength, and had not as yet suffered from the plague. The Athenians themselves numbered not less than ten thousand hoplites, exclusive of the remaining three thousand who were engaged at Potidaea. A force of metic hoplites amounting to at least three thousand took part in the invasion, and also a large number of light-armed troops. After ravaging the greater part of the country they retired. They repeated the invasion, sometimes with cavalry, sometimes with the whole Athenian army, every year during the war until Nisaea was taken.23
At the end of this summer the island of Atalantè, which lies off the coast of the Opuntian Locrians and had hitherto been uninhabited, was fortified and made a guard-station by the Athenians. They wanted to prevent pirates sailing from Opus and other places in Locris and plundering Euboea. Such were the events which occurred during the remainder of the summer after the Peloponnesians had retired from Attica.
During the following winter, Evarchus the Acarnanian, desiring to be restored to Astacus, persuaded the Corinthians to sail with forty ships and fifteen hundred hoplites and reinstate him, he himself hiring some mercenaries. Of this expedition Euphamidas the son of Aristonymus, Timoxenus the son of Timocrates, and Eumachus the son of Chrysis, were the commanders. They sailed to Astacus, and restored Evarchus; they then tried to gain over certain other towns on the coast of Acarnania; but, failing in their attempt, they proceeded homewards. Touching at Cephallenia on their voyage, they made a descent on the country of the Cranians, but being entrapped by means of a pretended agreement, and then unexpectedly attacked, they lost a part of their forces; at length, not without a severe struggle, they put to sea again and returned home.
During the same winter, in accordance with an old national custom, the funeral of those who first fell in this war was celebrated by the Athenians at the public charge. The ceremony is as follows: Three days before the celebration they erect a tent in which the bones of the dead are laid out, and every one brings to his own dead any offering which he pleases. At the time of the funeral the bones are placed in chests of cypress wood, which are conveyed on hearses; there is one chest for each tribe. They also carry a single empty litter decked with a pall for all whose bodies are missing, and cannot be recovered after the battle. The procession is accompanied by any one who chooses, whether citizen or stranger, and the female relatives of the deceased are present at the place of interment and make lamentation. The public sepulchre is situated in the most beautiful spot outside the walls; there they always bury those who fall in war; only after the battle of Marathon the dead, in recognition of their pre-eminent valour, were interred on the field. When the remains have been laid in the earth, some man of known ability and high reputation, chosen by the city, delivers a suitable oration over them; after which the people depart. Such is the manner of interment; and the ceremony was repeated from time to time throughout the war. Over those who were the first buried Pericles was chosen to speak. At the fitting moment he advanced from the sepulchre to a lofty stage, which had been erected in order that he might be heard as far as possible by the multitude, and spoke as follows:
'Most of those who have spoken here before me have commended the lawgiver who added this oration to our other funeral customs; it seemed to them a worthy thing that such an honour should be given at their burial to the dead who have fallen on the field of battle. But I should have preferred that, when men's deeds have been brave, they should be honoured in deed only, and with such an honour as this public funeral, which you are now witnessing. Then the reputation of many would not have been imperilled on the eloquence or want of eloquence of one, and their virtues believed or not as he spoke well or ill. For it is difficult to say neither too little nor too much; and even moderation is apt not to give the impression of truthfulness. The friend of the dead who knows the facts is likely to think that the words of the speaker fall short of his knowledge and of his wishes; another who is not so well informed, when he hears of anything which surpasses his own powers, will be envious and will suspect exaggeration. Mankind are tolerant of the praises of others so long as each hearer thinks that he can do as well or nearly as well himself, but, when the speaker rises above him, jealousy is aroused and he begins to be incredulous. However, since our ancestors have set the seal of their approval upon the practice, I must obey, and to the utmost of my power shall endeavour to satisfy the wishes and beliefs of all who hear me.
I will speak first of our ancestors, for it is right and seemly that now, when we are lamenting the dead, a tribute should be paid to their memory. There has never been a time when they did not inhabit this land, which by their valour they have handed down from generation to generation, and we have received from them a free state. But if they were worthy of praise, still more were our fathers, who added to their inheritance, and after many a struggle transmitted to us their sons this great empire. And we ourselves assembled here to-day, who are still most of us in the vigour of life, have carried the work of improvement further, and have richly endowed our city with all things, so that she is sufficient for herself both in peace and war. Of the military exploits by which our various possessions were acquired, or of the energy with which we or our fathers drove back the tide of war, Hellenic or Barbarian, I will not speak; for the tale would be long and is familiar to you. But before I praise the dead, I should like to point out by what principles of action we rose24 to power, and under what institutions and through what manner of life our empire became great. For I conceive that such thoughts are not unsuited to the occasion, and that this numerous assembly of citizens and strangers may profitably listen to them.
'Our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others. We do not copy our neighbours, but are an example to them. It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But while the the law secures equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognised; and when a citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit. Neither is poverty a bar, but a man may benefit his country whatever be the obscurity of his condition. There is no exclusiveness in our public life, and in our private intercourse we are not suspicious of one another, nor angry with our neighbour if he does what he likes; we do not put on sour looks at him which, though harmless, are not pleasant. While we are thus unconstrained in our private intercourse, a spirit of reverence pervades our public acts; we are prevented from doing wrong by respect for the authorities and for the laws, having an especial regard to those which are ordained for the protection of the injured as well as to those unwritten laws which bring upon the transgressor of them the reprobation of the general sentiment.
'And we have not forgotten to provide for our weary spirits many relaxations from toil; we have regular games and sacrifices throughout the year; our homes are beautiful and elegant; and the delight which we daily feel in all these things helps to banish melancholy. Because of the greatness of our city the fruits of the whole earth flow in upon us; so that we enjoy the goods of other countries as freely as of our own.
'Then, again, our military training is in many respects superior to that of our adversaries. Our city is thrown open to the world, and we never expel a foreigner or prevent him from seeing or learning anything of which the secret if revealed to an enemy might profit him. We rely not upon management or trickery, but upon our own hearts and hands. And in the matter of education, whereas they from early youth are always undergoing laborious exercises which are to make them brave, we live at ease, and yet are equally ready to face the perils which they face.25 And here is the proof. The Lacedaemonians come into Attica not by themselves, but with their whole confederacy following; we go alone into a neighbour's country; and although our opponents are fighting for their homes and we on a foreign soil, we have seldom any difficulty in overcoming them. Our enemies have never yet felt our united strength; the care of a navy divides our attention, and on land we are obliged to send our own citizens everywhere. But they, if they meet and defeat a part of our army, are as proud as if they had routed us all, and when defeated they pretend to have been vanquished by us all.
'If then we prefer to meet danger with a light heart but without laborious training, and with a courage which is gained by habit and not enforced by law, are we not greatly the gainers? Since we do not anticipate the pain, although, when the hour comes, we can be as brave as those who never allow themselves to rest; and thus too our city is equally admirable in peace and in war. For we are lovers of the beautiful, yet simple in our tastes, and we cultivate the mind without loss of manliness. Wealth we employ, not for talk and ostentation, but when there is a real use for it. To avow poverty with us is no disgrace; the true disgrace is in doing nothing to avoid it. An Athenian citizen does not neglect the state because he takes care of his own household; and even those of us who are engaged in business have a very fair idea of politics. We alone regard a man who takes no interest in public affairs, not as a harmless; but as a useless character; and if few of us are originators, we are all sound judges of a policy. The great impediment to action is, in our opinion, not discussion, but the want of that knowledge which is gained by discussion preparatory to action. For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act and of acting too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection. And they are surely to be esteemed the bravest spirits who, having the clearest sense both of the pains and pleasures of life, do not on that account shrink from danger. In doing good, again, we are unlike others; we make our friends by conferring, not by receiving favours. Now he who confers a favour is the firmer friend, because he would fain by kindness keep alive the memory of an obligation; but the recipient is colder in his feelings, because he knows that in requiting another's generosity he will not be winning gratitude but only paying a debt. We alone do good to our neighbours not upon a calculation of interest, but in the confidence of freedom and in a frank and fearless spirit. To sum up: I say that Athens is the school of Hellas, and that the individual Athenian in his own person seems to have the power of adapting himself to the most varied forms of action with the utmost versatility and grace. This is no passing and idle word, but truth and fact; and the assertion is verified by the position to which these qualities have raised the state. For in the hour of trial Athens alone among her contemporaries is superior to the report of her. No enemy who comes against her is indignant at the reverses which he sustains at the hands of such a city; no subject complains that his masters are unworthy of him. And we shall assuredly not be without witnesses; there are mighty monuments of our power which will make us the wonder of this and of succeeding ages; we shall not need the praises of Homer or of any other panegyrist whose poetry may please for the moment,26 although his representation of the facts will not bear the light of day. For we have compelled every land and every sea to open a path for our valour, and have everywhere planted eternal memorials of our friendship and of our enmity. Such is the city for whose sake these men nobly fought and died; they could not bear the thought that she might be taken from them; and every one of us who survive should gladly toil on her behalf.
'I have dwelt upon the greatness of Athens because I want to show you that we are contending for a higher prize than those who enjoy none of these privileges, and to establish by manifest proof the merit of these men whom I am now commemorating. Their loftiest praise has been already spoken. For in magnifying the city I have magnified them, and men like them whose virtues made her glorious. And of how few Hellenes can it be said as of them, that their deeds when weighed in the balance have been found equal to their fame! Methinks that a death such as theirs has been gives the true measure of a man's worth; it may be the first revelation of his virtues, but is at any rate their final seal. For even those who come short in other ways may justly plead the valour with which they have fought for their country; they have blotted out the evil with the good, and have benefited the state more by their public services than they have injured her by their private actions. None of these men were enervated by wealth or hesitated to resign the pleasures of life; none of them put off the evil day in the hope, natural to poverty, that a man, though poor, may one day become rich. But, deeming that the punishment of their enemies was sweeter than any of these things, and that they could fall in no nobler cause, they determined at the hazard of their lives to be honourably avenged, and to leave the rest. They resigned to hope their unknown chance of happiness; but in the face of death they resolved to rely upon themselves alone. And when the moment came they were minded to resist and suffer, rather than to fly and save their lives; they ran away from the word of dishonour, but on the battle-field their feet stood fast, and in an instant, at the height of their fortune, they passed away from the scene, not of their fear, but of their glory.27
'Such was the end of these men; they were worthy of Athens, and the living need not desire to have a more heroic spirit, although they may pray for a less fatal issue. The value of such a spirit is not to be expressed in words. Any one can discourse to you for ever about the advantages of a brave defence, which you know already. But instead of listening to him I would have you day by day fix your eyes upon the greatness of Athens, until you become filled with the love of her; and when you are impressed by the spectacle of her glory, reflect that this empire has been acquired by men who knew their duty and had the courage to do it, who in the hour of conflict had the fear of dishonour always present to them, and who, if ever they failed in an enterprise, would not allow their virtues to be lost to their country, but freely gave their lives to her as the fairest offering which they could present at her feast. The sacrifice which they collectively made was individually repaid to them; for they received again each one for himself a praise which grows not old, and the noblest of all sepulchres--I speak not of that in which their remains are laid, but of that in which their glory survives, and is proclaimed always and on every fitting occasion both in word and deed. For the whole earth is the sepulchre of famous men; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men. Make them your examples, and, esteeming courage to be freedom and freedom to be happiness, do not weigh too nicely the perils of war. The unfortunate who has no hope of a change for the better has less reason to throw away his life than the prosperous who, if he survive, is always liable to a change for the worse, and to whom any accidental fall makes the most serious difference. To a man of spirit, cowardice and disaster coming together are far more bitter than death striking him unperceived at a time when he is full of courage and animated by the general hope.
Wherefore I do not now commiserate the parents of the dead who stand here; I would rather comfort them. You know that your life has been passed amid manifold vicissitudes; and that they may be deemed fortunate who have gained most honour, whether an honourable death like theirs, or an honourable sorrow like yours, and whose days have been so ordered that the term of their happiness is likewise the term of their life. I know how hard it is to make you feel this, when the good fortune of others will too often remind you of the gladness which once lightened your hearts. And sorrow is felt at the want of those blessings, not which a man never knew, but which were a part of his life before they were taken from him. Some of you are of an age at which they may hope to have other children, and they ought to bear their sorrow better; not only will the children who may hereafter be born make them forget their own lost ones, but the city will be doubly a gainer. She will not be left desolate, and she will be safer. For a man's counsel cannot have equal weight or worth, when he alone has no children to risk in the general danger. To those of you who have passed their prime, I say: "Congratulate yourselves that you have been happy during the greater part of your days; remember that your life of sorrow will not last long, and be comforted by the glory of those who are gone. For the love of honour alone is ever young, and not riches, as some say, but honour is the delight of men when they are old and useless."
'To you who are the sons and brothers of the departed, I see that the struggle to emulate them will be an arduous one. For all men praise the dead, and, however preeminent your virtue may be, hardly will you be thought, I do not say to equal, but even to approach them. The living have their rivals and detractors, but when a man is out of the way, the honour and good-will which he receives is unalloyed. And, if I am to speak of womanly virtues to those of you who will henceforth be widows, let me sum them up in one short admonition: To a woman not to show more weakness than is natural to her sex is a great glory, and not to be talked about for good or for evil among men.
'I have paid the required tribute, in obedience to the law, making use of such fitting words as I had. The tribute of deeds has been paid in part; for the dead have been honourably interred, and it remains only that their children should be maintained at the public charge until they are grown up: this is the solid prize with which, as with a garland, Athens crowns her sons living and dead, after a struggle like theirs. For where the rewards of virtue are greatest, there the noblest citizens are enlisted in the service of the state. And now, when you have duly lamented, every one his own dead, you may depart.'
Such was the order of the funeral celebrated in this winter, with the end of which ended the first year of the PeloponnesianWar. As soon as summer returned, the Peloponnesian army, comprising as before two-thirds of the force of each confederate state, under the command of the Lacedaemonian king Archidamus, the son of Zeuxidamus, invaded Attica, where they established themselves and ravaged the country. They had not been there many days when the plague broke out at Athens for the first time. A similar disorder is said to have previously smitten many places, particularly Lemnos, but there is no record of such a pestilence occurring elsewhere, or of so great a destruction of human life. For a while physicians, in ignorance of the nature of the disease, sought to apply remedies; but it was in vain, and they themselves were among the first victims, because they oftenest came into contact with it. No human art was of any avail, and as to supplications in temples, enquiries of oracles, and the like, they were utterly useless, and at last men were overpowered by the calamity and gave them all up.
The disease is said to have begun south of Egypt in Aethiopia; thence it descended into Egypt and Libya, and after spreading over the greater part of the Persian empire, suddenly fell upon Athens. It first attacked the inhabitants of the Piraeus, and it was supposed that the Peloponnesians had poisoned the cisterns, no conduits having as yet been made there. It afterwards reached the upper city, and then the mortality became far greater. As to its probable origin or the causes which might or could have produced such a disturbance of nature, every man, whether a physician or not, will give his own opinion. But I shall describe its actual course, and the symptoms by which any one who knows them beforehand may recognise the disorder should it ever reappear. For I was myself attacked, and witnessed the sufferings of others.
The season was admitted to have been remarkably free from ordinary sickness; and if anybody was already ill of any other disease, it was absorbed in this. Many who were in perfect health, all in a moment, and without any apparent reason, were seized with violent heats in the head and with redness and inflammation of the eyes. Internally the throat and the tongue were quickly suffused with blood, and the breath became unnatural and fetid. There followed sneezing and hoarseness; in a short time the disorder, accompanied by a violent cough, reached the chest; then fastening lower down, it would move the stomach and bring on all the vomits of bile to which physicians have ever given names; and they were very distressing. An ineffectual retching producing violent convulsions attacked most of the sufferers; some as soon as the previous symptoms had abated, others not until long afterwards.28 The body externally was not so very hot to the touch, nor yet pale; it was of a livid colour inclining to red, and breaking out in pustules and ulcers. But the internal fever was intense; the sufferers could not bear to have on them even the finest linen garment; they insisted on being naked, and there was nothing which they longed for more eagerly than to throw themselves into cold water. And many of those who had no one to look after them actually plunged into the cisterns, for they were tormented by unceasing thirst, which was not in the least assuaged whether they drank little or much. They could not sleep; a restlessness which was intolerable never left them. While the disease was at its height the body, instead of wasting away, held out amid these sufferings in a marvellous manner, and either they died on the seventh or ninth day, not of weakness, for their strength was not exhausted, but of internal fever, which was the end of most; or, if they survived, then the disease descended into the bowels and there produced violent ulceration; severe diarrhoea at the same time set in, and at a later stage caused exhaustion, which finally with few exceptions carried them off. For the disorder which had originally settled in the head passed gradually through the whole body, and, if a person got over the worst, would often seize the extremities and leave its mark, attacking the privy parts and the fingers and the toes; and some escaped with the loss of these, some with the loss of their eyes. Some again had no sooner recovered than they were seized with a forgetfulness of all things and knew neither themselves nor their friends.
The general character of the malady no words can describe, and the fury with which it fastened upon each sufferer was too much for human nature to endure. There was one circumstance in particular which distinguished it from ordinary diseases. The birds and animals which feed on human flesh, although so many bodies were lying unburied, either never came near them, or died if they touched them. This was proved by a remarkable disappearance of the birds of prey, which were not to be seen either about the bodies or anywhere else; while in the case of the dogs the result was even more obvious, because they live with man.
Such was the general nature of the disease: I omit many strange peculiarities which characterised individual cases. None of the ordinary sicknesses attacked any one while it lasted, or, if they did, they ended in the plague. Some of the sufferers died from want of care, others equally who were receiving the greatest attention. No single remedy could be deemed a specific; for that which did good to one did harm to another. No constitution was of itself strong enough to resist or weak enough to escape the attacks; the disease carried off all alike and defied every mode of treatment. Most appalling was the despondency which seized upon any one who felt himself sickening; for he instantly abandoned his mind to despair and, instead of holding out, absolutely threw away his chance of life. Appalling too was the rapidity with which men caught the infection; dying like sheep if they attended on one another; and this was the principal cause of mortality. When they were afraid to visit one another, the sufferers died in their solitude, so that many houses were empty because there had been no one left to take care of the sick; or if they ventured they perished, especially those who aspired to heroism. For they went to see their friends without thought of themselves and were ashamed to leave them, at a time when the very relations of the dying were at last growing weary and ceased even to make lamentations, overwhelmed by the vastness of the calamity. But whatever instances there may have been of such devotion, more often the sick and the dying were tended by the pitying care of those who had recovered, because they knew the course of the disease and were themselves free from apprehension. For no one was ever attacked a second time, or not with a fatal result. All men congratulated them, and they themselves, in the excess of their joy at the moment, had an innocent fancy that they could not die of any other sickness.
The crowding of the people out of the country into the city aggravated the misery; and the newly-arrived suffered most. For, having no houses of their own, but inhabiting in the height of summer stifling huts, the mortality among them was dreadful, and they perished in wild disorder. The dead lay as they had died, one upon another, while others hardly alive wallowed29 in the streets and crawled about every fountain craving for water. The temples in which they lodged were full of the corpses of those who died in them; for the violence of the calamity was such that men, not knowing where to turn, grew reckless of all law, human and divine. The customs which had hitherto been observed at funerals were universally violated, and they buried their dead each one as best he could. Many, having no proper appliances, because the deaths in their household had been so numerous already, lost all shame in the burial of the dead.30 When one man had raised a funeral pile, others would come, and throwing on their dead first, set fire to it; or when some other corpse was already burning, before they could be stopped, would throw their own dead upon it and depart.
There were other and worse forms of lawlessness which the plague introduced at Athens. Men who had hitherto concealed what they took pleasure in, now grew bolder. For, seeing the sudden change,--how the rich died in a moment, and those who had nothing immediately inherited their property,--they reflected that life and riches were alike transitory, and they resolved to enjoy themselves while they could, and to think only of pleasure. Who would be willing to sacrifice himself to the law of honour when he knew not whether he would ever live to be held in honour? The pleasure of the moment and any sort of thing which conduced to it took the place both of honour and of expediency. No fear of Gods or law of man deterred a criminal. Those who saw all perishing alike, thought that the worship or neglect of the Gods made no difference. For offences against human law no punishment was to be feared; no one would live long enough to be called to account. Already a far heavier sentence had been passed and was hanging over a man's head; before that fell, why should he not take a little pleasure?
Such was the grievous calamity which now afflicted the Athenians; within the walls their people were dying, and without, their country was being ravaged. In their troubles they naturally called to mind a verse which the elder men among them declared to have been current long ago:
A Dorian war will come and a plague with it.'
There was a dispute about the precise expression; some saying that limos, a famine, and not loimos, a plague, was the original word. Nevertheless, as might have been expected, for men's memories reflected their sufferings, the argument in favour of loimos prevailed at the time. But if ever in future years another Dorian war arises which happens to be accompanied by a famine, they will probably repeat the verse in the other form. The answer of the oracle to the Lacedaemonians when the God was asked 'whether they should go to war or not,' and he replied 'that if they fought with all their might, they would conquer, and that he himself would take their part,'31 was not forgotten by those who had heard of it, and they quite imagined that they were witnessing the fulfilment of his words. The disease certainly did set in immediately after the invasion of the Peloponnesians, and did not spread into Peloponnesus in any degree worth speaking of, while Athens felt its ravages most severely, and next to Athens the places which were most populous. Such was the history of the plague.32
After the Peloponnesians had wasted the plain they entered what are called the coast lands (Paralus) and penetrated as far as Laurium, where are the silver mines belonging to the Athenians. First they ravaged that part of the coast which looks towards Peloponnesus, and afterwards that situated towards Euboea and Andros. But Pericles, who was still general, continued to insist, as in the former invasion, that the Athenians should remain within their walls.
Before, however, the Peloponnesians had left the plain and moved forward into the coast lands he had begun to equip an expedition of a hundred ships against Peloponnesus. When all was ready he put to sea, having on board four thousand Athenian hoplites and three hundred cavalry conveyed in horse transports which the Athenians then constructed for the first time out of their old ships. The Chians and Lesbians joined them with fifty vessels. The expedition did not actually put to sea until the Peloponnesians had reached the coast lands. Arriving at Epidaurus in Peloponnesus the Athenians devastated most of the country and attacked the city, which at one time they were in hopes of taking, but did not quite succeed. Setting sail again they ravaged the territory of Troezen, Halieis, and Hermionè, which are all places on the coast of Peloponnesus. Again putting off they came to Prasiae, a small town on the coast of Laconia, ravaged the country, and took and plundered the place. They then returned home and found that the Peloponnesians had also returned and were no longer in Attica.
All the time during which the Peloponnesians remained in the country and the armament of the Athenians continued at sea the plague was raging both among the troops and in the city. The fear which it inspired was said to have induced the enemy to leave Attica sooner than they intended; for they heard from deserters that the disease was in the city, and likewise saw the burning of the dead. Still in this invasion the whole country was ravaged by them, and they remained about forty days, which was the longest stay they ever made.
In the same summer, Hagnon the son of Nicias, and Cleopompus the son of Cleinias, who were colleagues of Pericles in his military command, took the fleet which he had employed and sailed forthwith against the Thracian Chalcidians and against Potidaea, which still held out. On their arrival they brought engines up to the walls, and tried every means of taking the town. But they did not succeed; nor did the result by any means correspond to the magnitude of their armament; for thither too the plague came and made dreadful havoc among the Athenian troops. Even the soldiers who were previously there and had been in good health caught the infection from the forces under Hagnon. But the army of Phormio33 escaped; for he and his sixteen hundred troops had left Chalcidicè. And so Hagnon returned with his fleet to Athens, having lost by the plague out of four thousand hoplites a thousand and fifty men in about forty days. But the original armament34 remained and prosecuted the siege.
After the second Peloponnesian invasion, now that Attica had been once more ravaged, and the war and the plague together lay heavy upon the Athenians, a change came over their spirit. They blamed Pericles because he had persuaded them to go to war, declaring that he was the author of their troubles; and they were anxious to come to terms with the Lacedaemonians. Accordingly envoys were despatched to Sparta, but they met with no success. And now, being completely at their wits' end, they turned upon Pericles. He saw that they were exasperated by their misery and were behaving just as he had always anticipated that they would. And so, being still general, he called an assembly, wanting to encourage them and to convert their angry feelings into a gentler and more hopeful mood. At this assembly he came forward and spoke as follows:
'I was expecting this outburst of indignation; the causes of it are not unknown to me. And I have summoned an assembly that I may remind you of your resolutions and reprove you for your inconsiderate anger against me, and want of fortitude in misfortune. In my judgment it would be better for individuals themselves that the citizens should suffer and the state flourish than that the citizens should flourish and the state suffer. A private man, however successful in his own dealings, if his country perish is involved in her destruction; but if he be an unprosperous citizen of a prosperous city he is much more likely to recover. Seeing then that states can bear the misfortunes of individuals, but individuals cannot bear the misfortunes of the state, let us all stand by our country and not do what you are doing now, who because you are stunned by your private calamities are letting go the hope of saving the state, and condemning not only me who advised, but yourselves who consented to, the war. Yet I with whom you are so angry venture to say of myself, that I am as capable as any one of devising and explaining a sound policy; and that I am a lover of my country, and incorruptible. Now a man may have a policy which he cannot clearly expound, and then he might as well have none at all; or he may possess both ability and eloquence, but if he is disloyal to his country he cannot, like a true man, speak in her interest; or again he may be unable to resist a bribe, and then all his other good qualities will be sold for money. If, when you determined to go to war, you believed me to have somewhat more of the statesman in me than others, it is not fair that I should now be charged with anything like crime.
'I allow that for men who are in prosperity and free to choose it is great folly to make war. But when they must either submit and at once surrender independence, or strike and be free, then he who shuns and not he who meets the danger is deserving of blame. For my own part, I am the same man and stand where I did. But you are changed; for you have been driven by misfortune to recall the consent which you gave when you were yet unhurt, and to think that my advice was wrong because your own characters are weak. The pain is present and comes home to each of you, but the good is as yet unrealised by any one; and your minds have not the strength to persevere in your resolution, now that a great reverse has overtaken you unawares. Anything which is sudden and unexpected and utterly beyond calculation, such a disaster for instance as this plague coming upon other misfortunes, enthralls the spirit of a man. Nevertheless, being the citizens of a great city and educated in a temper of greatness, you should not succumb to calamities however overwhelming, or darken the lustre of your fame. For if men hate the presumption of those who claim a reputation to which they have no right, they equally condemn the faint-heartedness of those who fall below the glory which is their own. You should lose the sense of your private sorrows and cling to the deliverance of the state.
'As to your sufferings in the war, if you fear that they may be very great and after all fruitless, I have shown you already over and over again that such a fear is groundless. If you are still unsatisfied I will indicate one element of your superiority which appears to have escaped you,35 although it nearly touches your imperial greatness. I too have never mentioned it before, nor would I now, because the claim may seem too arrogant, if I did not see that you are unreasonably depressed. You think that your empire is confined to your allies, but I say that of the two divisions of the world accessible to man, the land and the sea, there is one of which you are absolute masters, and have or may have, the dominion to any extent which you please. Neither the great King nor any nation on earth can hinder a navy like yours from penetrating whithersoever you choose to sail. When we reflect on this great power, houses and lands, of which the loss seems so dreadful to you, are as nothing. We ought not to be troubled about them or to think much of them in comparison; they are only the garden of the house, the superfluous ornament of wealth; and you may be sure that if we cling to our freedom and preserve that, we shall soon enough recover all the rest. But, if we are the servants of others, we shall be sure to lose not only freedom, but all that freedom gives. And where your ancestors doubly succeeded, you will doubly fail. For their empire was not inherited by them from others but won by the labour of their hands, and by them preserved and bequeathed to us. And to be robbed of what you have is a greater disgrace than to attempt a conquest and fail. Meet your enemies therefore not only with spirit but with disdain. A coward or a fortunate fool may brag and vaunt, but he only is capable of disdain whose conviction that he is stronger than his enemy rests, like our own, on grounds of reason. Courage fighting in a fair field is fortified by the intelligence which looks down upon an enemy; an intelligence relying, not on hope, which is the strength of helplessness, but on that surer foresight which is given by reason and observation of facts.
'Once more, you are bound to maintain the imperial dignity of your city in which you all take pride; for you should not covet the glory unless you will endure the toil. And do not imagine that you are fighting about a simple issue, freedom or slavery; you have an empire to lose, and there is the danger to which the hatred of your imperial rule has exposed you. Neither can you resign your power, if, at this crisis, any timorous or inactive spirit is for thus playing the honest man. For by this time your empire has become a tyranny which in the opinion of mankind may have been unjustly gained, but which cannot be safely surrendered. The men of whom I was speaking, if they could find followers, would soon ruin a city, and if they were to go and found a state of their own, would equally ruin that. For inaction is secure only when arrayed by the side of activity; nor is it expedient or safe for a sovereign, but only for a subject state, to be a servant.
'You must not be led away by the advice of such citizens as these, nor be angry with me; for the resolution in favour of war was your own as much as mine. What if the enemy has come and done what he was certain to do when you refused to yield? What too if the plague followed? That was an unexpected blow, but we might have foreseen all the rest. I am well aware that your hatred of me is aggravated by it. But how unjustly, unless to me you also ascribe the credit of any extraordinary success which may befall you!36 The visitations of heaven should be borne with resignation, the sufferings inflicted by an enemy with manliness. This has always been the spirit of Athens, and should not die out in you. Know that our city has the greatest name in all the world because she has never yielded to misfortunes, but has sacrificed more lives and endured severer hardships in war than any other; wherefore also she has the greatest power of any state up to this day; and the memory of her glory will always survive. Even if we should be compelled at last to abate somewhat of our greatness (for all things have their times of growth and decay), yet will the recollection live, that, of all Hellenes, we ruled over the greatest number of Hellenic subjects; that we withstood our enemies, whether single or united, in the most terrible wars, and that we were the inhabitants of a city endowed with every sort of wealth and greatness. The indolent may indeed find fault, but the man of action37 will seek to rival us, and he who is less fortunate will envy us. To be hateful and offensive has ever been at the time the fate of those who have aspired to empire. But he judges well who accepts unpopularity in a great cause. Hatred does not last long, and, besides the immediate splendour of great actions, the renown of them endures for ever in men's memories. Looking forward to such future glory and present avoidance of dishonour, make an effort now and secure both. Let no herald be sent to the Lacedaemonians, and do not let them know that you are depressed by your sufferings. For those are the greatest states and the greatest men, who, when misfortunes come, are the least depressed in spirit and the most resolute in action.'
By these and similar words Pericles endeavoured to appease the anger of the Athenians against himself, and to divert their minds from their terrible situation. In the conduct of public affairs they took his advice, and sent no more embassies to Sparta; they were again eager to prosecute the war. Yet in private they felt their sufferings keenly; the common people had been deprived even of the little which they possessed, while the upper class had lost fair estates in the country with all their houses and rich furniture. Worst of all, instead of enjoying peace, they were now at war. The popular indignation was not pacified until they had fined Pericles; but, soon, afterwards, with the usual fickleness of a multitude, they elected him general and committed all their affairs to his charge. Their private sorrows were beginning to be less acutely felt, and for a time of public need they thought that there was no man like him. During the peace while he was at the head of affairs he ruled with prudence; under his guidance Athens was safe, and reached the height of her greatness in his time. When the war began he showed that here too he had formed a true estimate of the Athenian power. He survived the commencement of hostilities two years and six months; and, after his death, his foresight was even better appreciated than during his life. For he had told the Athenians that if they would be patient and would attend to their navy, and not seek to enlarge their dominion while the war was going on, nor imperil the existence of the city, they would be victorious; but they did all that he told them not to do, and in matters which seemingly had nothing to do with the war, from motives of private ambition and private interest they adopted a policy which had disastrous effects in respect both of themselves and of their allies; their measures, had they been successful, would only have brought38 honour and profit to individuals, and, when unsuccessful, crippled the city in the conduct of the war. The reason of the difference was that he, deriving authority from his capacity and acknowledged worth, being also a man of transparent integrity, was able to control the multitude in a free spirit; he led them rather than was led by them; for, not seeking power by dishonest arts, he had no need to say pleasant things, but, on the strength of his own high character, could venture to oppose and even to anger them. When he saw them unseasonably elated and arrogant, his words humbled and awed them; and, when they were depressed by groundless fears, he sought to reanimate their confidence. Thus Athens, though still in name a democracy, was in fact ruled by her greatest citizen, But his successors were more on an equality with one another, and, each one struggling to be first himself, they were ready to sacrifice the whole conduct of affairs to the whims of the people. Such weakness in a great and imperial city led to many errors, of which the greatest was the Sicilian expedition; not that the Athenians miscalculated their enemy's power, but they themselves, instead of consulting for the interests of the expedition which they had sent out, were occupied in intriguing against one another for the leadership of the democracy,39 and not only hampered the operations of the army, but became embroiled, for the first time, at home. And yet after they had lost in the Sicilian expedition the greater part of their fleet and army, and were now distracted by revolution, still they held out three years not only against their former enemies, but against the Sicilians who had combined with them, and against most of their own allies who had risen in revolt. Even when Cyrus the son of the King joined in the war and supplied the Peloponnesian fleet with money, they continued to resist, and were at last overthrown, not by their enemies, but by themselves and their own internal dissensions. So that at the time Pericles was more than justified in the conviction at which his foresight had arrived, that the Athenians would win an easy victory over the unaided forces of the Peloponnesians.
During the same summer the Lacedaemonians and their allies sent a fleet of a hundred ships against the island of Zacynthus, which lies opposite Elis. The Zacynthians are colonists of the Peloponnesian Achaeans, and were allies of the Athenians. There were on board the fleet a thousand Lacedaemonian hoplites, under the command of Cnemus the Spartan admiral. They disembarked and ravaged the greater part of the country; but as the inhabitants would not come to terms, they sailed away home.
At the end of the same summer, Aristeus the Corinthian, the Lacedaemonian ambassadors Aneristus, Nicolaus, and Stratodemus, Timagoras of Tegea, and Pollis of Argos who had no public mission, were on their way to Asia in the hope of persuading the King to give them money and join in the war. They went first of all to Sitalces son of Teres, in Thrace, wishing if possible to detach him from the Athenians, and induce him to lead an army to the relief of Potidaea, which was still blockaded by Athenian forces; they also wanted him to convey them across the Hellespont on their intended journey to Pharnaces, the son of Pharnabazus, who was to send them on to the King. At the time of their arrival two Athenian envoys, Learchus the son of Callimachus, and Ameiniades the son of Philemon, chanced to be at the court of Sitalces; and they entreated his son Sadocus, who had been made an Athenian citizen,40 to deliver the envoys into their hands, that they might not find their way to the King and so injure a city which was in some degree his own. He consented, and, sending a body of men with Learchus and Ameiniades, before they embarked, as they were on their way through Thrace to the vessel in which they were going to cross the Hellespont, seized them; they were then, in accordance with the orders of Sadocus, handed over to the Athenian envoys, who conveyed them to Athens. On the very day of their arrival the Athenians, fearing that Aristeus, whom they considered to be the cause of all their troubles at Potidaea and in Chalcidicè, would do them still further mischief if he escaped, put them all to death without trial and without hearing what they wanted to say; they then threw their bodies down precipices. They considered that they had a right to retaliate on the Lacedaemonians, who had begun by treating in the same way the traders of the Athenians and their allies when they caught their vessels off the coast of Peloponnesus. For at the commencement of the war, all whom the Lacedaemonians captured at sea were treated by them as enemies and indiscriminately slaughtered, whether they were allies of the Athenians or neutrals.
About the end of the same summer the Ambraciots, with a large Barbarian force which they had called out, made war upon the Amphilochian Argos and upon Amphilochia. The original cause of their enmity against the Argives was as follows:--The Amphilochian territory had been occupied and the city founded by Amphilochus the son of Amphiaraus, who on returning home after the Trojan War was dissatisfied at the state of Argos. He fixed the site on the shore of the Ambracian Gulf, and called the new city by the name of his native place; it was the greatest city in that region, and its inhabitants were the most powerful community. Many generations afterwards, these Amphilochians in a time of distress invited their neighbours the Ambraciots to join in the settlement, and from them they first learned the Hellenic language which they now speak; the other Amphilochians are Barbarians. After a while the Ambraciots drove out the Amphilochian Argives and themselves took possession of the city. The expelled Amphilochians placed themselves under the protection of the Acarnanians, and both together called in the Athenians, who sent them a fleet of thirty ships under the command of Phormio. When Phormio arrived, they stormed Argos, and sold the Ambraciots into slavery; and the Amphilochians and Acarnanians dwelt together in the place. The alliance between the Acarnanians and Athenians then first began. The hatred of the Ambraciots towards the Amphilochian Argives commenced with the enslavement of their countrymen; and now when the war offered an opportunity they invaded their territory, accompanied by the Chaonians and some others of the neighbouring Barbarians. They came as far as Argos and made themselves masters of the country; but not being able to take the city by assault they returned, and the several tribes dispersed to their own homes. Such were the events of the summer.
In the following winter the Athenians sent twenty ships on an expedition round Peloponnesus. These were placed under the command of Phormio, who, stationing himself at Naupactus, guarded the straits and prevented any one from sailing either out of or into Corinth and the Crisaean Gulf. Six other vessels were sent to collect tribute in Lycia and Caria; they were under the command of Melesander, who was to see that Peloponnesian privateers did not establish themselves in those parts, and damage merchant vessels coming from Phaselis and Phoenicia and all that region. But he, going up the country into Lycia with an army composed of Athenians taken from the crews and of allied troops, was defeated, and himself and a part of his forces slain.
In the same winter the Potidaeans, who were still blockaded, found themselves unable to hold out; for the Peloponnesian invasions of Attica did not make the Athenians withdraw; and they had no more food. When they had been reduced to such straits as actually in some cases to feed on human flesh, they entered into communications with the Athenian generals, Xenophon the son of Euripides, Hestiodorus the son of Aristocleides, and Phanomachus the son of Callimachus, to whom the siege had been entrusted. They, seeing that the army was suffering from the exposed situation, and considering that the city had already spent two thousand talents41 on the siege, accepted the terms proposed. The Potidaeans, with their wives and their children, and likewise the foreign troops,42 were to come out of the city, the men with one garment, the women with two, and they were allowed a certain fixed sum of money for their journey. So they came out under a safe-conduct, and went into Chalcidicè, or wherever they could find a home. But the Athenians blamed the generals for coming to terms without their authority, thinking that they could have made the city surrender at discretion. Soon afterwards they sent thither colonists of their own. Such were the events of the winter. And so ended the second year in the Peloponnesian War of which Thucydides wrote the history.
In the following summer the Peloponnesians and their allies under the command of Archidamus the son of Zeuxidamus, the Lacedaemonian king, instead of invading Attica, made an expedition against Plataea. There he encamped and was about to ravage the country, when the Plataeans sent envoys to him bearing the following message:
'Archidamus, and you Lacedaemonians, in making war upon Plataea you are acting unjustly, and in a manner unworthy of yourselves and of your ancestors. Pausanias the son of Cleombrotus, the Lacedaemonian, when he and such Hellenes as were willing to share the danger with him fought a battle in our land and liberated Hellas from the Persian, offered up sacrifice in the Agora of Plataea to Zeus the God of Freedom, and in the presence of all the confederates then and there restored to the Plataeans their country and city to be henceforth independent; no man was to make unjust war upon them at any time or to seek to enslave them; and if they were attacked, the allies who were present promised that they would defend them to the utmost of their power. These privileges your fathers granted to us as a reward for the courage and devotion which we displayed in that time of danger. But you are acting in an opposite spirit; for you have joined the Thebans, our worst enemies, and have come hither to enslave us. Wherefore, calling to witness the Gods to whom we all then swore, and also the Gods of your race and the Gods who dwell in our country, we bid you do no harm to the land of Plataea. Do not violate your oaths, but allow the Plataeans to be independent, and to enjoy the rights which Pausanias granted to them.'
To this appeal Archidamus rejoined:
'What you say, Plataeans, is just, but your acts should correspond to your words. Enjoy the independence which Pausanias granted to you, but also assist us in freeing the other Hellenes who were your sworn confederates in that time of danger and are now in subjection to the Athenians. With a view to the emancipation of them and of the other subject states, this great war has been undertaken and all these preparations made. It would be best for you to join with us, and observe the oaths yourselves which you would have us observe. But if you prefer to be neutral, a course which we have already once proposed to you, retain possession of your lands, and receive both sides in peace, but neither for the purposes of war; and we shall be satisfied.'
The Plataean ambassadors then returned to the city and reported these words of Archidamus to the people, who made answer that they that they could not do what they were asked without the sanction of the Athenians, in whose power they had left their wives and children, and that they also feared for the very existence of their state. When the Lacedaemonians were gone the Athenians might come and not allow them to carry out the treaty; or the Thebans, who would be included in the clause requiring them 'to receive both sides,' might again attempt to seize their town. To this Archidamus, wanting to reassure them, made the following answer:
'Then deliver over your city and houses to the Lacedaemonians; mark the boundaries of your land, and number your fruit-trees and anything else which can be counted. Go yourselves whithersoever you please, while the war lasts, and on the return of peace we will give back to you all that we have received. Until then we will hold your property in trust, and will cultivate your ground, paying you such a rent as will content you.'
Upon hearing these words the envoys again returned into the city, and, after holding a consultation with the people, told Archidamus that they wished first to communicate his proposals to the Athenians, and if they could get their consent they would do as he advised; in the meantime they desired him to make a truce with them, and not to ravage their land. So he made a truce which allowed sufficient time for their ambassadors to return from Athens; and meanwhile he spared their land. The Plataean envoys came to Athens, and after advising with the Athenians they brought back the following message to their fellow-citizens:
'Plataeans, the Athenians say that never at any time since you first became their allies43 have they suffered any one to do you wrong, and that they will not forsake you now, but will assist you to the utmost of their power; and they adjure you, by the oaths which your fathers swore, not to forsake the Athenian alliance.'
When the answer came, the Plataeans resolved not to desert the Athenians, but patiently to look on, if they must, while the Lacedaemonians wasted their country, and to endure the worst. No one was henceforward to leave the town, but answer was to be made from the walls that they could not possibly consent to the Lacedaemonian proposal. King Archidamus, as soon as he received the reply, before proceeding to action, fell to calling upon the Gods and heroes of the country in the following words:
'O ye Gods and heroes who possess the land of Plataea, be our witnesses that our invasion of this land in which our fathers prayed to you when they conquered the Persians, and which you made a propitious battle-field to the Hellenes, has thus far been justified, for the Plataeans first deserted the alliance; and that if we go further we shall be guilty of no crime, for we have again and again made them fair proposals and they have not listened to us. Be gracious to us and grant that the real authors of the iniquity may be punished, and that they may obtain revenge who lawfully seek it.'
After this appeal to the Gods he began military operations. In the first place, the soldiers felled the fruit-trees and surrounded the city with a stockade, that henceforth no one might get out. They then began to raise a mound against it, thinking that with so large an army at work this would be the speediest way of taking the place. So they cut timber from Cithaeron and built on either side of the intended mound a frame of logs placed cross-wise in order that the material might not scatter. Thither they carried wood, stones, earth, and anything which would fill up the vacant space. They continued raising the mound seventy days and seventy nights without intermission; the army was divided into relays, and one party worked while the other slept and ate. The Lacedaemonian officers who commanded the contingents of the allies stood over them and kept them at work. The Plataeans, seeing the mound rising, constructed a wooden frame, which they set upon the top of their own wall opposite the mound; in this they inserted bricks, which they took from the neighbouring houses; the wood served to strengthen and bind the structure together as it increased in height; they also hung curtains of skins and hides in front; these were designed to protect the wood-work and the workers, and shield them against blazing arrows. The wooden wall rose high, but the mound rose quickly too. Then the Plataeans had a new device;--they made a hole in that part of the wall against which the mound pressed and drew in the earth.
The Peloponnesians discovered what they were doing, and threw into the gap clay packed in wattles of reed, which could not scatter and like the loose earth be carried away. Whereupon the Plataeans, baffled in one plan, resorted to another. Calculating the direction, they dug a mine from the city to the mound and again drew the earth inward. For a long time their assailants did not find them out, and so what the Peloponnesians threw on was of little use, since the mound was always being drawn off below and settling into the vacant space. But in spite of all their efforts, the Plataeans were afraid that their numbers would never hold out against so great an army; and they devised yet another expedient. They left off working at the great building opposite the mound, and beginning at both ends, where the city wall returned to its original lower height, they built an inner wall projecting inwards in the shape of a crescent, that if the first wall were taken the other might still be defensible. The enemy would be obliged to begin again and carry the mound right up to it, and as they advanced inwards would have their trouble all over again, and be exposed to missiles on both flanks. While the mound was rising the Peloponnesians brought battering engines up to the wall; one which was moved forward on the mound itself shook a great part of the raised building, to the terror of the Plataeans. They brought up others too at other points of the wall. But the Plataeans dropped nooses over the ends of these engines and drew them up; they also let down huge beams suspended at each end by long iron chains from two poles leaning on the wall and projecting over it. These beams they drew up at right angles to the advancing battering-ram, and whenever at any point it was about to attack them they slackened their hold of the chains and let go the beam, which fell with great force and snapped off the head of the ram.
At length the Peloponnesians, finding that their engines were useless, and that the new wall was rising opposite to the mound, and perceiving that they could not without more formidable means of attack hope to take the city, made preparations for a blockade. But first of all they resolved to try whether, the wind favouring, the place, which was but small, could not be set on fire; they were anxious not to incur the expense of a regular siege, and devised all sorts of plans in order to avoid it. So they brought faggots and threw them down from the mound along the space between it and the wall, which was soon filled up when so many hands were at work; then they threw more faggots one upon another into the city as far as they could reach from the top of the mound, and casting in lighted brands with brimstone and pitch, set them all on fire. A flame arose of which the like had never before been made by the hand of man; I am not speaking of fires in the mountains, when the forest has spontaneously blazed up from the action of the wind and mutual attrition. There was a great conflagration, and the Plataeans, who had thus far escaped, were all but destroyed; a considerable part of the town was unapproachable, and if a wind had come on and carried the flame that way, as the enemy hoped, they could not have been saved. It is said that there was also a violent storm of thunder and rain, which quenched the flames and put an end to the danger.
The Peloponnesians, having failed in this, as in their former attempts, sent away a part of their army but retained the rest,44 and dividing the task among the contingents of the several cities, surrounded Plataea with a wall. Trenches, out of which they took clay for the bricks, were formed both on the inner and the outer side of the wall. About the rising of Arcturus45 all was completed. They then drew off their army, leaving a guard on one half of the wall, while the other half was guarded by the Boeotians; the disbanded troops returned to their homes. The Plataeans had already conveyed to Athens46 their wives, children, and old men, with the rest of their unserviceable population. Those who remained during the siege were four hundred Plataeans, eighty Athenians, and a hundred and ten women to make bread. These were their exact numbers when the siege began. There was no one else, slave or freeman, within the walls. In such sort was the blockade of Plataea completed.
During the same summer, when the corn was in full ear, and about the time of the attack on Plataea, the Athenians sent an expedition against the Chalcidians of Thrace and against the Bottiaeans, consisting of two thousand heavy-armed troops of their own and two hundred horsemen under the command of Xenophon the son of Euripides, and two others. They came close up to the Bottian Spartolus and destroyed the crops. They expected that the place would be induced to yield to them by a party within the walls. But the opposite party sent to Olynthus and obtained from thence a garrison, partly composed of hoplites, which sallied out of Spartolus and engaged with the Athenians under the walls of the town. The Chalcidian hoplites and with them certain auxiliaries were defeated and retreated into Spartolus, but their cavalry and light-armed troops had the advantage over those of the Athenians. They were assisted by a few targeteers, who came from the district called Crusis. The engagement was scarcely over when another body of targeteers from Olynthus came up to their aid. Encouraged by the reinforcement and their previous success, and supported by the Chalcidian horse and the newly-arrived troops, the light-armed again attacked the Athenians, who began to fall back upon the two companies which they had left with their baggage: as often as the Athenians charged, the enemy retired; but when the Athenians continued their retreat, they pressed upon them and hurled darts at them. The Chalcidian cavalry too rode up, and wherever they pleased charged the Athenians, who now fled utterly disconcerted and were pursued to a considerable distance. At length they escaped to Potidaea, and having recovered their dead under a flag of truce, returned to Athens with the survivors of their army, out of which they had lost four hundred and thirty men and all their generals. The Chalcidians and Bottiaeans, having set up a trophy and carried off their dead, disbanded and dispersed to their several cities.
In the same summer, not long afterwards, the Ambraciots and Chaonians, designing to subjugate the whole of Acarnania and detach it from the Athenian alliance, persuaded the Lacedaemonians to equip a fleet out of the confederate forces, and to send into that region a thousand hoplites. They said that if the Lacedaemonians would join with them and attack the enemy both by sea and land, the Acarnanians on the sea-coast would be unable to assist the inland tribes, and they might easily conquer Acarnania. Zacynthus and Cephallenia would then fall into their hands, and the Athenian fleet would not so easily sail round Peloponnesus. They might even hope to take Naupactus. The Lacedaemonians agreed, and at once despatched Cnemus, who was still admiral,47 with the thousand hoplites in a few ships; they ordered the rest of the allied navy to get ready and at once sail to Leucas. The interests of the Ambraciots were zealously supported by Corinth, their mother city. The fleet which was to come from Corinth, Sicyon, and the adjacent places was long in preparation; but the contingent from Leucas, Anactorium, and Ambracia was soon equipped, and waited at Leucas. Undiscovered by Phormio, the commander of the twenty Athenian ships which were keeping guard at Naupactus, Cnemus and his thousand hoplites crossed the sea and began to make preparations for the land expedition. Of Hellenes he had in his army Ambraciots, Leucadians, Anactorians, and the thousand Peloponnesians whom he brought with him,--of Barbarians a thousand Chaonians, who, having no king, were led by Photyus and Nicanor, both of the governing family and holding the presidency for a year. With the Chaonians came the Thesprotians, who, like them, have no king. A Molossian and Atintanian force was led by Sabylinthus, the guardian of Tharypas the king, who was still a minor; the Paravaeans were led by their king Oroedus, and were accompanied by a thousand Orestians placed at the disposal of Oroedus by their king Antiochus. Perdiccas also, unknown to the Athenians, sent a thousand Macedonians, who arrived too late. With this army Cnemus, not waiting for the ships from Corinth, began his march. They passed through the Argive territory and plundered Limnaea, an unwalled village. At length they approached Stratus, which is the largest city in Acarnania, thinking that, if they could take it, the other places would soon come over to them.
The Acarnanians, seeing that a great army had invaded their territory, and that the enemy was threatening them by sea as well as by land, did not attempt any united action, but guarded their several districts, and sent to Phormio for aid. He replied that a fleet of the enemy was about to sail from Corinth, and that he could not leave Naupactus unguarded. Meanwhile the Peloponnesians and their allies marched in three divisions towards Stratus, intending to encamp near and try negotiations; if these failed, they would take stronger measures and assault the wall. The Chaonians and the other Barbarians advanced in the centre; on the right wing were the Leucadians, Anactorians, and their auxiliaries; on the left was Cnemus with the Peloponnesians and Ambraciots. The three divisions were a long way apart, and at times not even in sight of one another. The Hellenic troops maintained order on the march and kept a look out, until at length they found a suitable place in which to encamp; the Chaonians, confident in themselves, and having a great military reputation in that part of the country, would not stop to encamp, but they and the other Barbarians rushed on at full speed, hoping to take the place by storm and appropriate to themselves the glory of the action. The Stratians perceiving their approach in time, and thinking that, if they could overcome them before the others arrived, the Hellenic forces would not be so ready to attack them, set ambuscades near the city. When they were quite close, the troops came out of the city and from the ambuscades and fell upon them hand to hand. Whereupon the Chaonians were seized with a panic and many of them perished; the other Barbarians, seeing them give way, no longer stood their ground, but took to flight. Neither of the Hellenic divisions knew of the battle; the Chaonians were far in advance of them, and were thought to have hurried on because they wanted to choose a place for their camp. At length the Barbarians in their flight broke in upon their lines; they received them, and the two divisions uniting during that day remained where they were, the men of Stratus not coming to close quarters with them, because the other Acarnanians had not as yet arrived, but slinging at them from a distance and distressing them greatly. For they could not move a step without their armour. Now the Acarnanians are famous for their skill in slinging.
When night came on, Cnemus withdrew his army in haste to the river Anapus, which is rather more than nine miles from Stratus, and on the following day carried off his dead under a flag of truce. The people of Oeniadae were friendly and had joined him; to their city therefore he retreated before the Acarnanians had collected their forces. From Oeniadae all the Peloponnesian troops returned home. The Stratians erected a trophy of the battle in which they had defeated the Barbarians.
The fleet from Corinth and the other allied cities on the Crisaean Gulf, which was intended to support Cnemus and to prevent the Acarnanians on the sea-coast from assisting their friends in the interior of the country, never arrived, but was compelled, almost on the day of the battle of Stratus, to fight with Phormio and the twenty Athenian ships which were stationed at Naupactus. As they sailed by into the open sea, Phormio was watching them, preferring to make his attack outside the gulf. Now the Corinthians and their allies were not equipped for a naval engagement, but for the conveyance of troops into Acarnania, and they never imagined that the Athenians with twenty ships would venture to engage their own forty-seven. But, as they were coasting along the southern shore, they saw the Athenian fleet following their movements on the northern; they then attempted to cross the sea from Patrae in Achaea to the opposite continent in the direction of Acarnania, when they again observed the enemy bearing down upon them from Chalcis and the mouth of the river Evenus. They had previously endeavoured to anchor under cover of night,48 but had been detected. So at last they were compelled to fight in the middle of the channel. The ships were commanded by generals of the cities which had furnished them; the Corinthian squadron by Machaon, Isocrates, and Agatharchidas. The Peloponnesians arranged their ships in such a manner as to make the largest possible circle without leaving space to break through, turning their prows outwards and their sterns inwards; within the circle they placed the smaller craft which accompanied them, and five of their swiftest ships that they might be close at hand and row out at whatever point the enemy charged them.
The Athenians ranged their ships in a single line and sailed round and round the Peloponnesian fleet, which they drove into a narrower and narrower space, almost touching as they passed, and leading the crews to suppose that they were on the point of charging. But they had been warned by Phormio not to begin until he gave the signal, for he was hoping that the enemy's ships, not having the steadiness of an army on land, would soon fall into disorder and run foul of one another; they would be embarrassed by the small craft, and if the usual morning breeze, for which he continued waiting as he sailed round them, came down from the gulf, they would not be able to keep still for a moment. He could attack whenever he pleased, because his ships were better sailers; and he knew that this would be the right time. When the breeze began to blow, the ships, which were by this time crowded into a narrow space and were distressed at once by the force of the wind and by the small craft which were knocking up against them, fell into confusion; ship dashed against ship, and they kept pushing one another away with long poles; there were cries of `keep off' and noisy abuse, so that nothing could be heard either of the word of command or of the coxswains' giving the time; and the difficulty which unpractised rowers had in clearing the water in a heavy sea made the vessels disobedient to the helm. At that moment Phormio gave the signal; the Athenians, falling upon the enemy, began by sinking one of the admirals' vessels, and then wherever they went made havoc of them; at last such was the disorder that no one any longer thought of resisting, but the whole fleet fled away to Patrae and Dymè in Achaea. The Athenians pursued them, captured twelve ships, and taking on board most of their crews, sailed away to Molycrium. They set up a trophy on Rhium, and having there dedicated a ship to Poseidon, retired to Naupactus. The Peloponnesians likewise, with the remainder of their fleet, proceeded quickly along the coast from Dymè and Patrae to Cyllenè, where the Eleans have their docks. Cnemus with the ships from Leucas, which should have been joined by these, arrived after the battle of Stratus at Cyllenè.
The Lacedaemonians at home now sent to the fleet three commissioners, Timocrates, Brasidas, and Lycophron, to advise Cnemus. He was told that he must contrive to fight again and be more successful; he should not allow a few ships to keep him off the sea. The recent sea-fight had been the first attempt of the Lacedaemonians, and they were quite amazed and could not imagine that their own fleet was so inferior to that of the enemy. They suspected that there had been cowardice, not considering that the Athenians were old sailors and that they were only beginners.49 So they despatched the commissioners in a rage. On their arrival they and Cnemus sent round to the allied cities for ships, and equipped for action those which were on the spot. Phormio likewise sent home messengers to announce the victory, and at the same time to inform the Athenians of the preparations which the enemy were making. He told them to send him immediately as large a reinforcement as possible, for he might have to fight any day. They sent him twenty ships, but ordered the commander of them to go to Crete first; for Nicias of Gortys in Crete, who was the proxenus of the Athenians, had induced them to send a fleet against Cydonia, a hostile town which he promised to reduce. But he really invited them to please the Polichnitae, who are neighbours of the Cydoniatae. So the Athenian commander took the ships, went to Crete, and joined the Polichnitae in ravaging the lands of the Cydoniatae; there, owing to contrary winds and bad weather, a considerable time was wasted.
While the Athenians were detained in Crete the Peloponnesians at Cyllene, equipped for a naval engagement, coasted along to Panormus in Achaia, whither the Peloponnesian army had gone to co-operate with them. Phormio also coasted along to the Molycrian Rhium and anchored outside the gulf with the twenty ships which had fought in the previous engagement. This Rhium was friendly to the Athenians; there is another Rhium on the opposite coast in Peloponnesus; the space between them, which is rather less than a mile, forms the mouth of the Crisaean Gulf. When the Peloponnesians saw that the Athenians had come to anchor, they likewise anchored with seventy-seven ships at the Rhium which is in Achaia, not far from Panormus where their land forces were stationed. For six or seven days the two fleets lay opposite one another, and were busy in practising and getting ready for the engagement--the one resolved not to sail into the open sea, fearing a recurrence of their disaster, the other not to sail into the strait, because the confined space was favourable to their enemies. At length Cnemus, Brasidas, and the other Peloponnesian generals determined to bring on an engagement at once, and not wait until the Athenians too received their reinforcements. So they assembled their soldiers and, seeing that they were generally dispirited at their former defeat and reluctant to fight, encouraged them in the following words:
'The late sea-fight, Peloponnesians, may have made some of you anxious about the one which is impending, but it really affords no just ground for alarm. In that battle we were, as you know, ill-prepared, and our whole expedition had a military and not a naval object. Fortune was in many ways unpropitious to us, and this being our first sea-fight we may possibly have suffered a little from inexperience. The defeat which ensued was not the result of cowardice; nor should the unconquerable quality which is inherent in our minds, and refuses to acknowledge the victory of mere force, be depressed by the accident of the event. For though fortune may sometimes bring disaster, yet the spirit of a brave man is always the same, and while he retains his courage he will never allow inexperience to be an excuse for misbehaviour. And whatever be your own inexperience, it is more than compensated by your superiority in valour. The skill of your enemies which you so greatly dread, if united with courage, may be able in the moment of danger to remember and execute the lesson which it has learned, but without courage no skill can do anything at such a time. For fear makes men forget, and skill which cannot fight is useless. And therefore against their greater skill set your own greater valour, and against the defeat which so alarms you set the fact that you were unprepared. But now you have a larger fleet; this turns the balance in your favour; and you will fight close to a friendly shore under the protection of heavy-armed troops. Victory is generally on the side of those who are more numerous and better equipped. So that we have absolutely no reason for anticipating failure. Even our mistakes will be an additional advantage, because they will be a lesson to us. Be of good courage, then, and let every one of you, pilot or sailor, do his own duty and maintain the post assigned to him. We will order the attack rather better than your old commanders, and so give nobody an excuse for cowardice. But, if any one should be inclined to waver, he shall be punished as he deserves, while the brave shall be honoured with the due rewards of their valour.'
Such were the words of encouragement addressed to the Peloponnesians by their commanders. Phormio too, fearing that his sailors might be frightened, and observing that they were gathering in knots and were evidently apprehensive of the enemy's numbers, resolved to call them together and inspirit them by a suitable admonition. He had always been in the habit of telling them and training their minds to believe that no superiority of hostile forces could justify them in retreating. And it had long been a received opinion among the sailors that, as Athenians, they were bound to face any quantity of Peloponnesian ships. When, however, he found them dispirited by the sight which met their eyes, he determined to revive their drooping courage, and, having assembled them together, he spoke as follows:
'Soldiers, I have summoned you because I see that you are alarmed at the numbers of the enemy, and I would not have you dismayed when there is nothing to fear. In the first place, the reason why they have provided a fleet so disproportionate is because we have defeated them already, and they can see themselves that they are no match for us; next, as to the courage which they suppose to be native to them and which is the ground of their confidence when they attack us,50 that reliance is merely inspired by the success which their experience on land usually gives them, and will, as they fancy, equally ensure them by sea. But the superiority which we allow to them on land we may justly claim for ourselves at sea; for in courage at least we are their equals, and the superior confidence of either of us is really based upon greater experience. The Lacedaemonians lead the allies for their own honour and glory; the majority of them are dragged into battle against their will; if they were not compelled they would never have ventured after so great a defeat to fight again at sea. So that you need not fear their valour; they are far more afraid of you and with better reason, not only because you have already defeated them, but because they cannot believe that you would oppose them at all if you did not mean to do something worthy of that great victory. For most men when, like these Peloponnesians, they are a match for their enemies51 rely more upon their strength than upon their courage; but those who go into battle against far superior numbers and under no constraint must be inspired by some extraordinary force of resolution. Our enemies are well aware of this, and are more afraid of our surprising boldness than they would be if our forces were less out of proportion to their own. Many an army before now has been overthrown by smaller numbers owing to want of experience; some too through cowardice; and from both these faults we are certainly free. If I can help I shall not give battle in the gulf, or even sail into it. For I know that where a few vessels which are skilfully handled and are better sailers engage with a larger number which are badly managed the confined space is a disadvantage. Unless the captain of a ship see his enemy a good way off he cannot come on or strike properly; nor can he retreat when he is pressed hard. The manoeuvres suited to fast-sailing vessels, such as breaking of the line or returning to the charge, cannot be practised in a narrow space. The sea-fight must of necessity be reduced to a land-fight52 in which numbers tell. For all this I shall do my best to provide. Do you meanwhile keep order and remain close to your ships. Be prompt in taking your instructions, for the enemy is near at hand and watching us. In the moment of action remember the value of silence and order, which are always important in war, especially at sea. Repel the enemy in a spirit worthy of your former exploits. There is much at stake; for you will either destroy the rising hope of the Peloponnesian navy, or bring home to Athens the fear of losing the sea. Once more I remind you that you have beaten most of the enemy's fleet already; and, once defeated, men do not meet the same dangers with their old spirit.' Thus did Phormio encourage his sailors.
The Peloponnesians, when they found that the Athenians would not enter the straits or the gulf, determined to draw them in against their will. So they weighed anchor early in the morning, and, ranging their ships four deep, stood in towards the gulf along their own coast,53 keeping the order in which they were anchored. The right wing, consisting of twenty of their fastest vessels, took the lead. These were intended to close upon the Athenians and prevent them from eluding their attack and getting beyond the wing in case Phormio, apprehending an attack upon Naupactus, should sail along shore to its aid. He, when he saw them weighing anchor, was alarmed, as they anticipated, for the safety of the town, which was undefended. Against his will and in great haste he embarked and sailed along the shore; the land forces of the Messenians followed. The Peloponnesians, seeing that the enemy were in single file and were already within the gulf and close to land, which was exactly what they wanted, at a given signal suddenly brought their ships round, and the whole line faced the Athenians and bore down upon them, every ship rowing at the utmost speed, for they hoped to cut off all the Athenian fleet. Eleven vessels which were in advance evaded the sudden turn of the Peloponnesians, and rowed past their right wing into the open water; but they caught the rest, forced them aground, and disabled them. All the sailors who did not swim out of them were slain. Some of the empty ships they fastened to their own and began to tow away; one they had already taken with the crew, but others were saved by the Messenians, who came to the rescue, dashed armed as they were into the sea, boarded them, and, fighting from their decks when they were being already towed away, finally recovered them.
While in this part of the engagement the Lacedaemonians had the victory and routed the Athenian ships, their twenty vessels on the right wing were pursuing the eleven of the Athenians which had escaped from their attack into the open water of the gulf. These fled and, with the exception of one, arrived at Naupactus before their pursuers. They stopped off the temple of Apollo, and, turning their beaks outward, prepared to defend themselves in case the enemy followed them to the land. The Peloponnesians soon came up; they were singing a paean of victory as they rowed, and one Leucadian ship far in advance of the rest was chasing the single Athenian ship which had been left behind. There chanced to be anchored in the deep water a merchant vessel, round which the Athenian ship rowed just in time, struck the Leucadian amidships, and sank her. At this sudden and unexpected feat the Peloponnesians were dismayed; they had been carrying on the pursuit in disorder because of their success. And some of them, dropping the blades of their oars, halted, intending to await the rest, which was a foolish thing to do when the enemy were so near and ready to attack them. Others, not knowing the coast, ran aground.
When the Athenians saw what was going on their hopes revived, and at a given signal they charged their enemies with a shout. The Lacedaemonians did not long resist, for they had made mistakes and were all in confusion, but fled to Panormus, whence they had put to sea. The Athenians pursued them, took six of their ships which were nearest to them, and recovered their own ships which the Peloponnesians had originally disabled and taken in tow near the shore. The crews of the captured vessels were either slain or made prisoners. Timocrates the Lacedaemonian54 was on board the Leucadian ship which went down near the merchant vessel; when he saw the ship sinking he killed himself; the body was carried into the harbour of Naupactus. The Athenians then retired and raised a trophy on the place from which they had just sailed out to their victory. They took up the bodies and wrecks which were floating near their own shore, and gave back to the enemy, under a flag of truce, those which belonged to them. The Lacedaemonians also set up a trophy of the victory which they had gained over the ships destroyed by them near the shore; the single ship which they took they dedicated on the Achaean Rhium, close to the trophy. Then, fearing the arrival of the Athenian reinforcements, they sailed away at nightfall to the Crisaean Gulf and to Corinth, all with the exception of the Leucadians. And not long after their retreat the twenty Athenian ships from Crete, which ought to have come to the assistance of Phormio before the battle, arrived at Naupactus. So the summer ended.
Before breaking up the fleet which had returned to Corinth and the Crisaean Gulf, Cnemus, Brasidas, and the other Peloponnesian commanders, it being now the beginning of winter, wished to make an attempt, suggested by some Megarians, on Piraeus, the harbour of Athens. The entrance was unclosed and unguarded; as was natural, since the Athenians were complete masters of the sea. Each sailor was to carry his cushion and his oar with its thong, and cross on foot with all haste from Corinth to the Athenian side of the Isthmus; they were to go to Megara and from Nisaea, the harbour of Megara, to launch forty ships which happened to be lying in the docks; thence they were to sail straight for the Piraeus. No guard ships were stationed there, for no one ever expected that the enemy would attempt a surprise of this kind. As to an open and deliberate attack, how was he likely to venture on that? and if he even entertained such a design, would he not have been found out in time?55
The plan was immediately carried out. Arriving at night, they launched the ships from Nisaea and sailed away, but not to the Piraeus; the danger seemed too great, and also the wind is said to have been unfavourable. So they gave up their original idea and made for the projecting point of Salamis which looks towards Megara; here there was a fort, and three ships were stationed in order to prevent anything being conveyed by sea into or out of Megara. This fort they assailed, towed away the ships without their crews, and ravaged the rest of Salamis which was unprepared for their attack.
By this time fire-signals had carried the alarm to Athens. Nothing which happened in the war caused a greater panic. The inhabitants of the city thought that the enemy had already sailed into the Piraeus; the belief in the Piraeus was that Salamis had been taken and that the enemy were on the point of sailing into the harbour, which, if they had been bolder, they might easily have done, and no wind would have prevented them. But as soon as day dawned, the Athenians, coming down with the whole strength of the city to the Piraeus, launched their ships and, embarking in tumultuous haste, sailed to Salamis, while their land-forces remained and guarded the Piraeus. When the Peloponnesians saw the fleet coming they sailed quickly back to Nisaea, but not until they had ravaged the greater part of Salamis and taken many prisoners and much spoil, as well as the three ships which lay off the fort of Budorum. There was some apprehension about their own ships; for they had long been lain up and were not sea-worthy. Arriving at Megara they marched back again to Corinth, and the Athenians, having failed to overtake them in Salamis, sailed back likewise. Henceforth they kept more careful watch over the Piraeus, among other precautions closing the entrance to the harbour.
About the same time, at the beginning of winter, Sitalces the Odrysian, the son of Teres, king of Thrace, made war upon Perdiccas, the son of Alexander, king of Macedon, and upon the Thracian Chalcidians. There were two promises, of which he wished to perform one, and exact fulfilment of the other. The promise of which he claimed fulfilment had been made to him by Perdiccas, when, being hard pressed at the beginning of the war, he wanted Sitalces to reconcile him to the Athenians,56 and not to restore and place on the throne his brother Philip, who was his enemy; but Perdiccas did not keep his word. The other was a promise which Sitalces had himself made to the Athenians when he entered into alliance with them, that he would put an end to their war with the Chalcidians. For these two reasons he invaded the country, taking with him Amyntas the son of Philip, whom he intended to make king of Macedon, and also certain Athenian envoys who had just come to remind him of his engagement, and an Athenian commander Hagnon. For the Athenians on their part were bound to assist him against the Chalcidians with ships and with as large an army as they could provide.
Accordingly Sitalces, beginning with the Odrysae, made a levy of all his Thracian subjects dwelling between Mount Haemus and Mount Rhodopè as far as the shores of the Euxine and of the Hellespont. Beyond the Haemus he made a levy of the Getae and of all the tribes lying more towards the Euxine on this side of the Ister. Now the Getae and their neighbours border on the Scythians, and are equipped like them, for they are all horse-archers. He also summoned to his standard many of the highland Thracians, who are independent and carry dirks; they are called Dii, and most of them inhabit Mount Rhodope; of these some were attracted by pay, while others came as volunteers. He further called out the Agrianians, the Laeaeans, and the other Paeonian nations who were his subjects. These tribes were the last within his empire; they extended as far as the Graaean Paeonians and the river Strymon, which rises in Mount Scombrus and flows through the country of the Graaeans and Laeaeans; there his dominion ended and the independent Paeonians began. In the direction of the Triballi, who are likewise independent, the Treres and the Tilataeans formed his boundary. These tribes dwell to the north of Mount Scombrus and reach westward as far as the Oscius. This river rises in the same mountains as the Nestus and the Hebrus, an uninhabited and extensive range which adjoins Rhodopè.
The empire of the Odrysae measured by the coast-line reaches from the city of Abdera to the mouth of the Ister in the Euxine. The voyage round can be made by a merchant vessel, if the wind is favourable the whole way, at the quickest in four days and as many nights. Or an expeditious traveller going by land from Abdera to the mouth of the Ister, if he takes the shortest route, will accomplish the journey in eleven days. Such was the extent of the Odrysian empire towards the sea: up the country the land journey from Byzantium to the Laeaeans and to the Strymon, this being the longest line which can be drawn from the sea into the interior, may be accomplished by an expeditious traveller in thirteen days. The tribute which was collected from the Hellenic cities and from all the barbarous nations in the reign of Seuthes, the successor of Sitalces, under whom the amount was greatest, was valued at about four hundred talents of coined money,57 reckoning only gold and silver. Presents of gold and silver equal in value to the tribute, besides stuffs embroidered or plain and other articles, were also brought, not only to the king himself, but to the inferior chiefs and nobles of the Odrysae. For their custom was the opposite of that which prevailed in the Persian kingdom; they were more ready to receive than to give; and he who asked and was refused was not so much discredited as he who refused when he was asked. The same custom prevailed among the other Thracians in a less degree, but among the Odrysae, who were richer, more extensively; nothing could be done without presents. By these means the kingdom became very powerful, and in revenue and general prosperity exceeded all the nations of Europe which lie between the Ionian Sea and the Euxine; in the size and strength of their army being second only, though far inferior, to the Scythians. For if the Scythians were united, there is no nation which could compare with them, or would be capable of resisting them;58 I do not say in Europe, but even in Asia--not that they are at all on a level with other nations in sense, or in that intelligence which uses to advantage the ordinary means of life.
Such was the great country over which Sitalces ruled. When he had collected his army and his preparations were complete he marched into Macedonia, passing first of all through his own territory, and then through Cercinè, a desert mountain which lies between the Sinti and the Paeonians. He went by the road which he had himself constructed when he made his expedition against the Paeonians and cut down the forest. As he left the Odrysian territory in going through the mountain he had on the right hand the Paeonians and on the left hand the Sinti and Maedi; on quitting the mountain he arrived at Doberus in Paeonia. He lost no part of his army on the march, except by sickness, but rather increased it; for many of the independent Thracian tribes followed him of their own accord in hopes of plunder. The whole number of his forces was estimated at a hundred and fifty thousand, of which about two-thirds were infantry and the rest cavalry. The largest part of the cavalry was furnished by the Odrysae themselves, and the next largest by the Getae. Of the infantry, those armed with dirks who came from the independent tribes of Mount Rhodopè were the most warlike. The remainder of the army was a mixed multitude, chiefly formidable from its numbers.
Having mustered at Doberus, they made ready to descend over the heights into the plains of Macedonia, which were the territory of Perdiccas. There is an upper Macedonia, which is inhabited by Lyncestians, Elimiots, and other tribes; these are the allies and tributaries of the lower Macedonians, but have kings of their own. The maritime country which we now call Macedonia was conquered and formed into a kingdom by Alexander the father of Perdiccas and his ancestors the Temenidae, who originally came from Argos.59 They defeated and drove out of Pieria the Pierians, who afterwards settled in Phagres and other places at the foot of Mount Pangaeus, beyond the Strymon; the land which lies under Mount Pangaeus towards the sea is still called the Pierian vale. They also drove out of Bottia, as it is called, the Bottiaeans, who are now the neighbours of the Chalcidians, and they acquired a narrow strip of Paeonia by the river Axius, reaching down to Pella and the sea. Beyond the Axius they possess the country called Mygdonia reaching to the Strymon, out of which they have driven the Edonians. They expelled from the country still called Eordia the Eordians, of whom the greater part perished, but a small remnant of them settled in the neighbourhood of Physca; and from Almopia the Almopians. They and their subjects further subdued and still hold various places belonging to other tribes, Anthemus, Grestonia, Bisaltia, and a great part of the original Macedonia. But the whole of this country is now called Macedonia, and was under the rule of Perdiccas the son of Alexander at the time of the invasion of Sitalces.
The Macedonians were unable to defend themselves against the onset of so vast a host; they therefore retired into their strongholds and forts, which at that time were few. For those which now exist were built by Archelaus the son of Perdiccas, who, when he became king, made straight roads and in various ways improved the country. In his force of cavalry and infantry and in his military resources generally he surpassed all the eight kings who preceded him.
The Thracian army, leaving Doberus, invaded first of all the country which had formerly been the principality of Philip, and took Eidomenè by storm. Gortynia, Atalantè, and some other towns came to terms out of regard for Amyntas the son of Philip, who accompanied the expedition. They also besieged but failed to take Europus; they next advanced into that part of Macedonia which lay on the left of Pella and Cyrrhus. Farther south into Bottiaea and Pieria they did not penetrate, but were content to ravage the territory of Mygdonia, Grestonia, and Anthemus. The Macedonians had no idea of facing them with infantry, but sent for additional cavalry from their allies in the upper part of the country, and, although a handful of men, dashed in amongst the great Thracian host wherever they pleased. No one withstood their onset; for they were excellent horsemen and well protected with coats of mail. But hemmed in as they continually were by a multitude many times their own number, they ran into great danger. At last, feeling that they were not strong enough to encounter such superiority of force, they desisted.
Sitalces now held a conference with Perdiccas touching the matters which gave occasion to the war. The fleet which the Athenians had promised never arrived; for not believing that Sitalces would come, they only sent gifts and envoys to him. After waiting for them in vain he despatched a part of his army against the Chalcidians and Bottiaeans, and, driving them within their walls, devastated the country. While he was encamped in these parts, the Thessalians, who lie towards the south, the Magnesians and other dependants of the Thessalians, and all the Hellenes as far as Thermopylae were afraid that his army would move on them, and took measures of precaution. Those independent Thracian tribes to the north beyond the Strymon who dwelt in the plains, namely the Panaeans, Odomantians, Droans, and Dersaeans, were also in great alarm. A belief arose, which spread far and wide among the enemies of Athens, that the Athenians meant to lead their Odrysian allies against the rest of Hellas. Meanwhile Sitalces overran and ravaged Chalcidicè, Botticè, and Macedonia, but could not effect his objects; and, his army being without food and suffering from the winter, he was persuaded by his nephew, who next to himself had the greatest authority, Seuthes the son of Spardacus,60 to return home at once. Now Perdiccas had secretly gained over Seuthes, promising to give him his sister in marriage, with a portion. And so Sitalces and his army, having remained thirty days in all, of which eight were passed among the Chalcidians, returned home in haste. Perdiccas in fulfilment of his promise gave his sister Stratonicè in marriage to Seuthes. Thus ended the expedition of Sitalces.
During the same winter the Athenian forces at Naupactus, after the Peloponnesian fleet had dispersed, made an expedition under the command of Phormio into the centre of Acarnania with four hundred hoplites of their own taken from the fleet61 and four hundred Messenian hoplites. They first coasted along towards Astacus62 and disembarked. From Stratus, Coronta, and other places they expelled those of the inhabitants whom they distrusted, and restoring Cynes the son of Theolytus to Coronta, they returned to their ships. Oeniadae, of which the inhabitants, unlike the rest of the Acarnanians, were their persistent enemies, was unapproachable in winter. For the town is in the midst of a marsh formed by the river Achelous, which, rising in Mount Pindus and passing first through the territory of the Dolopians, Agraeans, and Amphilochians, and then through the Acarnanian plain, at some distance from its mouth flows by the city of Stratus and finds an exit into the sea near Oeniadae: an expedition in winter is thus rendered impossible by the water. Most of the islands called Echinades are situated opposite to Oeniadae and close to the mouth of the Achelous. The consequence is that the river, which is large, is always silting up: some of the islands have been already joined to the mainland, and very likely, at no distant period, they may all be joined to it. The stream is wide and strong and full of mud; and the islands are close together and serve to connect the deposits made by the river, not allowing them to dissolve in the water. For, lying irregularly and not one behind the other, they prevent the river from finding a straight channel into the sea. These islands are small and uninhabited. The story is that when Alcmaeon the son of Amphiaraus was wandering over the earth after the murder of his mother, he was told by Apollo that here he should find a home, the oracle intimating that he would never obtain deliverance from his terrors until he discovered some country which was not yet in existence and not seen by the sun at the time when he slew his mother; there he might settle, but the rest of the earth was accursed to him. He knew not what to do, until at last, according to the story, he spied the deposit of earth made by the Achelous, and he thought that a place sufficient to support life must have accumulated in the long time during which he had been wandering since his mother's death. There, near Oeniadae, he settled, and, becoming ruler, left to the country the name of his son Acarnan. Such is the tradition which has come down to us concerning Alcmaeon.
The Athenians under Phormio sailed back from Acarnania to Naupactus, and later at the beginning of spring returned to Athens, bringing with them the ships which they had captured, besides the prisoners of free birth whom they had taken in the naval engagements. These were exchanged man for man. And so the winter ended, and with it the third year in the Peloponnesian War of which Thucydides wrote the history.
1. For the difficulties attending the chronology see note on the passage.
2. Cp. ii. 67 init.; iv. 50.
3. Cp. ii. 29, 67.
4. Taking bebaiôs with ei sphisi philia tauta eiê.
5. Cp. v. 82 init.
6. Cp. i. 126 init. and 127.
7. About £120,000
8. About £1,940,000
9. About £100,000.
10. Cp. what is said of the citizens on garrison duty, vii. 28 init.
11. Or, 'all paid taxes to Athens.'
13. Cp. i. 82 med.
14. i. e. of the Attic summer, including spring, see note.
15. i.e. the plain round Athens.
16. Cp. i. 114 fin.
17. Cp. i. 102 fin., 107 fin.; iv. 78 med.
18. Reading with the MSS. tên gên tên Peiraikên. Cp. iii. 91 med., es Ôrôpon tês peran gês, i. e. the coast opposite Euboea.
19. About £200,000.
20. i. e. is called Teres, not Tereus.
21. Cp. i. 61 init.
22. Cp. i. 64 med.
23. Cp. iv. 66 init., 69 fin.
24. Reading hêlthomen.
25. Or, 'perils such as our strength can bear;' or 'perils which are enough to daunt us.'
26. Cp. i. 10 med., and 21.
27. Or, taking tychès with kairou: 'while for a moment in the hands of fortune, at the height, not of terror but of glory, they passed away.'
28. Or, taking lôphesanta with spasmon: 'these convulsions in some cases soon abated, in others not until long afterwards.'
29. More literally: 'They, dying, lay dead one upon another, or wallowed hardly alive' &c.
30. See note ad loc.
31. Cp. i. 118 fin.
32. Cp. iii. 87
33. Cp. i. 64 med.
34. Cp. i. 59, 61 init.
35. Or, taking huparchon humin absolutely: 'a consideration which, however obvious, appears to have escaped you.' Or, again, taking megathous peri with enthumêthênai: 'one element of your superiority which nearly touches your empire, but of which you never seem to have considered the importance.'
36. Cp. i. 140 init.
37. Or, taking kai autos with boulomenos: `he who is ambitious like ourselves.'
38. Or, 'while they continued to succeed, only brought.'
39. Cp. vi. 28.
40. Cp. ii. 29 fin.
42. Cp, i. 60.
43. Herod. vi. 108.
44. Retaining in the text to de loipon aphentes.
45. i. e. about the middle of September.
46. ii. 6 fin.
47. Cp. ii. 66.
48. Or, reading aphormisamenoi, 'they had weighed anchor before it was light, but had been detected.'
49. Cp. i. 142.
50. Or, taking the antecedent to hô as supplied by the clause hou di' allo ti tharsousin . . . katorthountes: 'as to the ground of the confidence with which they attack us as if courage were native to them.'
51. Or, 'For men who, like these Peloponnesians, are numerically superior to the enemy whom they face.'
52. Cp. vii. 62.
53. Reading para for epi with the Laurentian and three other MSS. Or, adopting the conjecture ekeinôn for eautôn: ` making for the enemy's shore, and' &c.
54. Cp. ii. 85 init.
55. Or, taking epei differently, and kath' hêsuchian in the sense of 'without interference': 'that the enemy would make a sudden attack of this kind. An attempt so bold and open was not likely to be unopposed, or the very design, if entertained, to escape detection.'
56. The reconciliation had been effected through the instrumentality of Nymphodorus; ii. 29.
58. Cp. Herod. iv. 46.
59. Herod. viii. 137-139.
60. Cp. iv. 101 fin.
61. Cp. ii. 83 init.; 92 fin.
62. Cp. ii. 30; 33.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00